U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Condemns Hamas Terrorist Attack, Invokes the Holocaust

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned what it called “religious incitement” related to the war between Israel and terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

 Israel Defense Forces image from 2022 (Photo by ArieStudio, Shutterstock.com)
 Israel Defense Forces image from 2022 (Photo by ArieStudio, Shutterstock.com)

USCIRF Chair Abraham Cooper said “USCIRF condemns, without reservation, Saturday’s brutal terrorist onslaught, that President Joseph R. Biden described as an ‘act of sheer evil.’ This attack represents the largest single-day mass killing of Jews since the Holocaust. Protestors in Sydney, Australia, chanting ‘gas the Jews’ and similar antisemitic slogans destroy any credible doubt that religious incitement is contributing to violence against the Jewish people in Israel and around the world. The United States must lead international efforts to thoroughly condemn this abhorrent intolerance, including calling out Iran and other governments that stoke the flames of religious incitement.”

“Invoking any religion, including Islam, to justify taking innocent lives has no place in any society,” said USCIRF Commissioner Mohamed Magid. “Claims that violent terrorists represent the whole of Islam—or the Palestinian people seeking their fundamental human rights—are ill-founded.”

“At a time of rising religious intolerance, the U.S. government should respond decisively to those invoking religion to justify killings, kidnappings, torture and all other human rights violations against people intending to live peacefully in the Holy Land and throughout the world,” said USCIRF Vice Chair Frederick A. Davie. “Tolerating restrictions on religious freedom, including harassment of religious communities and restricted access to houses of worship, contravenes the protections guaranteed to all people under international law.”

Created by an act of Congress in 1998, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is a bipartisan federal government entity that monitors, analyzes, and reports on religious freedom globally. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief.

USCIRF has noted that many governments have become more open and receptive in their rhetoric, but they have yet to make real-world changes in their laws to protect religious communities, the net result being no greater freedom or tolerance toward communities their governments might view as threatening.

In addition to the statement from the commissioners, USCIRF added that “governments are accountable for ensuring freedom of religion or belief for all as outlined in international legal instruments like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”


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Israel US Commission on International Religious Freedom USCIRF Hamas terrorist attack