Chicago: US Senator James Lankford, along with Bob Menendez and 18 other US Senators, have urged the Trump Administration to grant emergency refugee protection to the Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who are facing persecution as religious minorities in the Muslim-dominated nation.
Recently, suicide bombers had attacked the Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 27 people. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a bipartisan letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, these Senators called on the State Department to prioritize resettlement opportunities under the US Refugee Admissions Program allocation ceilings for the Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities, whose populations have plummeted markedly due to years of persecution by the Taliban and more recent terrorist actions perpetrated by ISIS Khorasan.
“This Administration has repeatedly highlighted protecting religious freedom as a top foreign policy priority,” the Senators wrote. “The Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan face an existential threat from ISIS-K because of their religion. To protect religious freedom we urgently ask that you take these essential steps to defend these threatened religious minorities.”
The letter also calls on Secretary Pompeo to offer additional support to the Sikh and Hindu communities which choose to remain in Afghanistan and to ensure that Afghan religious minorities benefit from the $20.6 million in American aid already provided to address COVID-19.