August 22, 2013
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) demanded that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) allow a vote on a bill aimed at protecting religious freedoms in the Middle East as Christians are being killed in Egypt.
Blunt said his bill was necessary because Coptic Christians and other civilians in Egypt are being killed as the country is on the verge of a civil war after the Egyptian military overthrew the government.
“The continued violence against Coptic Christians and other civilians in Egypt is incredibly disturbing and flies in the face of the religious freedoms and fundamental values that Americans hold dear,” Blunt said Wednesday.
S. 653 would create a new U.S. Department of State special envoy for religious minorities in the Middle East. The special envoy would be charged with promoting the religious freedoms of minorities in the region and monitoring and reporting religious intolerance.
“I urge Majority Leader Reid to allow a vote on this bipartisan legislation, which would call attention to all religious minorities and demonstrate to leaders in the region that the United States takes religious freedom seriously,” Blunt said.
Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) are co-sponsoring the bill.
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