U.S. Religious Freedom Ambassador, Sam Brownback: Sahel needs more global attention

Somalia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Myanmar and Syria. These are just a few of the many countries experiencing religious persecution, affecting Christians, Muslims and Jews, among others.

The United States has thus taken the promotion of religious freedom upon itself, as one of its main pillars.

Ambassador Sam Brownback is leading the U.S. in the fight to protect all faiths, working alongside other politicians and leaders of the three Abrahamic Monotheistic Religions.

SAM BROWNBACK
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
“All of these faiths have experienced and are experiencing substantial persecution, hatred, violence, and death because of their faith. We want to get these three together to stop that and to have these religions be an instrument of peace, not of war.”

This peace is slowly spreading to areas that have suffered much. The ambassador explained in Sudan in 2019, Christmas was recognized as an official holiday after nearly 10 years.

SAM BROWNBACK
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
“I met with the president twice, already. This is one of his key issues is really to normalize the relationship between other faiths other than just Islam, whereas with the past President Bashir, this was an Islamic State. It was a terrorist-sponsoring state. We’re hopeful that the new Sudan government will be an open multicultural, multi-faith institution.”

As hopeful as prospects are in Sudan, other areas like the Sahel in West Africa are worsening, including Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

SAM BROWNBACK
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
“It’s a bad situation, it’s getting worse. It needs more global attention. It will have, certainly from our office and the things that we’re doing, but it it needs a lot of help. That’s a place where you could see, the next real terrorist-focus began to take place and to take more root if the world doesn’t pay more attention to it.”

Since governments are not responding directly to the killings and violence, it continues. Tribes, like the Fulani are invading countries like Nigeria, killing at all costs.

SAM BROWNBACK
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
“It tends to be focused on killing Christians, or Muslims that don’t agree with their philosophy. What’s taking place is the terrorist financers and organizers outside of the region are seeing a real opportunity to operate in here. They’re seeing these fault lines of division that can be prodded. One of the key ones is differences in religion, and that’s happening.”

The ambassador said the U.S. is working on diminishing religious division, by working with monotheistic religious leaders. By these religious leaders putting their energy into target areas, it is more difficult for extremists to breakup communities. In turn, there is the possibility for healthcare and economic development to get the people out of this mess once and for all.