The following remarks were delivered after the House’s passage of a resolution (H. Res. 736) condemning
I had the tremendous pleasure of traveling to
I had the honor of visiting with newly inaugurated President Hamid Karzai. This affable and humorous man, who I came to view as
While I am relieved that through President Karzai’s personal leadership on behalf of religious freedom Abdul Rahman has been freed, religious freedom in
The American people today have the luxury of looking upon the recent events in
Unlike the American people today, President Karzai and the people of
When the loya jirga in
As stated in H. Res. 736, the Constitution of Afghanistan affirms that the people of
Article 7 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan provides that the state shall observe the United Nations Charter, inter-state agreements, as well as international treaties to which Afghanistan has joined, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and the freedom to change one’s religion or belief.
Like House Resolution 736 says, I call upon the Government of Afghanistan, and especially President Karzai, to continue to work to conform Afghan laws to
I implore the people of
Like many Americans fearful of the dangerous chain of events a case like the one against Abdul Rahman could unfurl, I see religious freedom as a clear, inalienable right — a right that is a key to the survival of democracy.
Thomas Paine said it well, ‘That which we obtain too easily, we esteem to lightly.’
I do not believe that the people of
Those who die in the cause of freedom did not die in vain, for they light the flame of freedom and instill its care to the generations who follow. This generation of Afghan people have the solemn duty of fanning that flame by protecting the fundamental rights of their countrymen, like the freedom to believe and practice a religion of one’s own choosing.
It is my hope that this resolution would not send a message of condemnation, but a clear message that despite the grave concerns the American people have raised seeking protections for religious minorities, the American people are still committed to working in partnership and solidarity with President Karzai and the people of