Delhi, Jan 15, 2017: Former US President Barack Obama has spread a surge of religious tolerance in his countrymen and proclaimed January 16 as Religious Freedom Day. Obama said, “Religious freedom is a principle based not on shared ancestry, culture, ethnicity or faith, but on a shared commitment to liberty- and it lies at the very heart of who we are as Americans.”
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Obama urged everyone to strictly avoid religion based politics. He also said that one should never target anyone on the basis of their religious preference. Obama said, “Part of being American means guarding against bigotry and speaking out on behalf of others, no matter their background or belief- whether they are wearing a hijab or a baseball cap, a yarmulke or a cowboy hat.”
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Obama said that in 2015, nearly 20 percent of hate crime victims in America were targeted because of religious bias. “That is unacceptable — and as Americans, we have an obligation to do better. If we are to defend religious freedom, we must remember that when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up,” he said.
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The former US President also said, “Brave men and women of faith have challenged our conscience and brought us closer to our founding ideals, from the abolition of slavery to the expansion of civil rights and workers’ rights. And throughout our history, faith communities have helped uphold these values by joining in efforts to help those in need — rallying in the face of tragedy and providing care or shelter in times of disaster.”
Obama said that America’s strength comes from its diversity and he signed off saying, “And we must be unified in our commitment to protecting the freedoms of conscience and religious belief and the freedom to live our lives according to them.”
– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter: @shambhavispeaks