Celebrating Religious Freedom in Holiday Season
David A. Harris
Executive Director, American Jewish Committee
Week of December 12, 2005
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Christmas and Chanukah are around the corner.
Amidst the holiday planning, let’s remember two things.
First, we’re fortunate to live in a country that protects religious freedom. We’re free to believe as we wish. It’s a matter of private conscience, not public coercion.
And second, not everyone is so lucky.
According to the State Department and other sources:
In North Korea , religious freedom doesn’t exist.
In Cuba, the government makes life difficult for the Catholic Church.
In Iran, Sunni Muslims, Bahais, Jews, and Christians are victims of harassment and arrest.
In Saudi Arabia , all citizens must be Muslim.
In Sudan, while Muslims can proselytize freely, any Muslim who converts to another religion faces the death penalty.
In Egypt, where Islam is the state religion, Christians encounter systematic discrimination.
The list goes on.
As we celebrate our religious freedom, we should never forget those who aren’t as blessed.
This is David Harris of the American Jewish Committee.Date: 12/12/2005