World leaders gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 23 for a major climate change summit, but US President Donald Trump preferred to talk about religious freedom instead, reports UN News.
Speaking in a room filled with representatives of American religious groups, Trump said, “Regrettably, the religious freedom enjoyed by American citizens is rare in the world. Approximately 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted or even banned.”
Regrettably, the religious freedom enjoyed by American citizens is rare in the world. —US President Donald Trump
Together with Trump was UN Secretary-General António Guterres who said it was “totally unacceptable” for many people around the world to suffer because of their faith.
“Christians killed at prayer, their churches torched. And in many hotspots around the world, entire communities have been targeted because of their faith – including in places where those communities have existed for centuries, if not millennia,” he lamented.
The UN Chief pointed out that, “The best way to promote international religious freedom is by uniting our voices for good, countering messages of hate with messages of peace, embracing diversity and protecting human rights everywhere.”
Despite UN and US’ intention to highlight the situation of people who suffer because of their faith, China took it as a direct attack against the communist country.
A spokesperson from China accused the US of violating the UN Charter, reports Reuters. In a statement, the Chinese representative said, “Unfortunately, we regret to see the U.S. using religious freedom as a cover to wantonly criticize other sovereign countries by disrespecting and distorting facts.”
Trump urged countries to protect the religious freedom of its citizens and amend laws that are wrongfully used to discriminate religious minorities. He announced his administration’s efforts to protect religious freedom, including allocating $25 million for this campaign, and establishing an office to defend religious communities.