FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2018
USCIRF Condemns Terrorist Attack Against Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan
Chair Dorjee said, “This attack is yet another reminder of the crucial link between security and religious freedom.”
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns Sunday’s terrorist attack that killed more than 20 people in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. This attack, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, targeted members of Afghanistan’s minority Hindu and Sikh communities, including Sikh candidate for parliament Awtar Singh Khalsa, who was killed in the attack.
Chair Dorjee said, “We condemn this egregious attack against innocent members of two minority faith communities in Afghanistan. This attack is yet another reminder of the crucial link between security and religious freedom. Afghanistan’s religious minorities, including Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, and Shi’a Muslims, face an array of challenges, both legally and socially. This despicable act of violence is simply the worst expression of hostility toward these already marginalized communities. We urge the government of Afghanistan to fully investigate this incident and to hold the perpetrators accountable. We also urge the government to work to create an environment in which religious minorities can practice their faith freely and live without fear of violence.”
In its most recent Annual Report, USCIRF found that the security situation in Afghanistan remains unsettled, which negatively impacts religious freedom throughout the country. Attacks against the Shi’a Muslim community and other non-Muslim communities by the Islamic State in the Khorasan Province continued or worsened and religious leaders involved in efforts to fight extremism and bridge the gap between various Muslim groups were murdered by extremists. Based on these and other factors, in 2018 USCIRF placed Afghanistan on its Tier 2.
For more information about Afghanistan, including recommendations for U.S. policy, see USCIRF’s 2018 Annual Report chapter here.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission whose mission is to elevate and promote international religious freedom as a norm and practice. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Javier Peña, Communications Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-202-674-2598).