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Posted 18 Dec 2001   For week ended December 14, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Dec01

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 religious freedom."

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, he said.

"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 and Congress.


Allies' stand on religion questioned
Deseret News 27Nov01 T2
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent


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