DearColleague.us

Letter

John Garamendi

From the office of:

John Garamendi

Sending Office: Honorable John Garamendi
Sent By:
Tigran.Agdaian@mail.house.gov

Deadline Friday COB 

 

List of signers: Reps. TJ Cox, Hank Johnson, Haley Stevens, Gregory Meeks, Paul Cook, Jim Costa, Abigail Spanberger, James P. McGovern, Barbara Lee, Jamie Raskin, Frank Pallone, Jr.

 

Please join us in this critical effort to save a vulnerable religious minority community from existential danger.  On March 25, Islamic State terrorists attacked a Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in Kabul, killing 25 people, including a four-year old girl. 
A second attack days later targeted the funeral of those killed at the gurdwara, compounding the tragedy and highlighting that the threat against them remains profound. 

 

This community is being specifically targeted by Islamic State terrorists because of their status as a religious minority.  Once a thriving community of nearly 250,000, Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are now estimated to comprise less than 100 families.  This community
now faces existential danger, and the severity of the threat is only likely to increase in the weeks and months to come.  They cannot remain safely in Afghanistan and are seeking urgent relocation outside of Afghanistan for their safety.    

 

Secretary of State Pompeo has consistently touted the importance of religious freedom as a fundamental principle. In February, he oversaw the establishment of an International Religious Freedom Alliance, a group of like-minded countries committed to religious
freedom and “predicated on the idea that more must be done to protect members of religious minority groups.”  

 

Please join us in urging Secretary Pompeo to demonstrate his commitment to these principles by extending refugee resettlement protection to Afghan Sikhs and Hindus through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) on an urgent basis. 

 

To join the letter, or for any questions, please contact Danusia Hubah (danusia.hubah@mail.house.gov) in Congressman Garamendi’s office. 

 

 

FULL TEXT OF LETTER: 

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

 

We write to express our deep concern about the safety of the vulnerable Sikh religious minority in Afghanistan, which continues to be under grave threat from Islamic State terrorist attacks directed at Sikhs.  As you know, on March 25, Islamic State terrorists
attacked a Sikh gurdwara (house of worship) in Kabul, killing 25 people, including a four-year old girl.  A second attack targeted the funeral for those killed at the gurdwara, compounding the tragedy and highlighting that the threat against this community
remains profound. 

 

Once a thriving community of nearly 250,000 people prior to Taliban rule, the Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan has endured years of discrimination and violence from extremists, including the Taliban, and the community is now estimated to comprise
fewer than 100 families across the country.  The immediate threat to the Sikh religious minority in Afghanistan from the Islamic State remains severe, and much of the community is now seeking relocation outside of Afghanistan for their safety. 

 

Throughout your tenure as Secretary of State, you have consistently touted the importance of religious freedom as a fundamental principle.  Two months ago, you marked the establishment of an International Religious Freedom Alliance, a group of like-minded
countries committed to advancing religious freedom and “predicated on the idea that more must be done to protect members of religious minority groups.” 

 

Mr. Secretary, more must be done to protect the vulnerable Sikh and Hindu religious minorities in Afghanistan.  We urge you to facilitate the safe and expeditious relocation of members of the Sikh and Hindu religious minorities in Afghanistan, including
through Priority 1 referrals to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). 

 

We understand that ambassadorial referrals to the USRAP are generally used in small numbers and situations of extreme danger, but we urge you to expand the use of this measure to save Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.  The situation is urgent.  This community already
faces existential danger in Afghanistan, and the severity of that threat is only likely to increase in the weeks and months to come.  We urge you to act quickly.    

 

We also strongly encourage you to engage the other member countries in the International Religious Freedom Alliance to secure their support and involvement in helping to protect and safely relocate this vulnerable religious minority community from Afghanistan. 

 

The protection of religious freedom is one of principles on which the International Religious Freedom Alliance was founded, and now is the time to demonstrate the administration’s commitment to that principle by leading this alliance in coordinated, multilateral
action to protect an endangered religious minority community.   

 

Sincerely,

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