By Vickie Speek
Mormon Head of Religious Freedom Commission Worries About U.S. Allies Commitment
WASHINGTON, DC -- A watchdog commission headed by a member of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says it worries that
some new, less-than-savory allies in the war on terrorism might now
feel they have license to continue violating religious freedom in
their countries. The call for caution comes from Michael Young,
chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom -
a monitoring group set up by Congress. Young recently joined experts,
academics and other watchdog groups in a discussion on religious
freedom in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Young, a graduate of Brigham Young University, and dean of the George
Washington University Law School, said his group "is concerned that
in forming alliances against terrorism, the United States not
compromise its commitment to democracy and human rights, including
He noted that several new allies in that war, including Pakistan,
Uzbekistan, Russia, China and other countries, have repressed freedom
of religion. The United States must not let them assume that their
help now gives them license in U.S. eyes to continue that repression,
"If we abandon our values to fight this battle, the terrorists will
already have won," Young said. "The best way to ensure the ultimate
defeat of evil is to continue to champion the good."
Young, a former president of the LDS Church's New York NY Stake, is
serving his second term on the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom. The Utah native has been a member of the
commission since its 1999 inception and is an expert on Japanese law
as well as religious freedom.
He served as vice chairman of the Commission for its first year,
gaining notoriety for suggesting that the US delay granting China
Permanent Normal Trade Relations because of its human rights record.
Despite the Commission's suggestion, Congress gave China that status.
The nine member Commission on International Religious Freedom
researches religious freedom around the world and makes independent
suggestions that further religious freedom to both the US President
Allies' stand on religion questioned
Deseret News 27Nov01 T2
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent