U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement marking Religious Freedom Day and condemning the Iranian regime's persecution of an American Christian:
"Religious freedom is one of our most treasured ideals, not just as Americans but as humans. We know from our own experience that societies that embrace this fundamental freedom are inherently stronger, in part because faith helps bring out the very best of our humanity and compassion for our fellow man. As Americans who have been blessed to live in a free country, we have a constitutional duty to protect religious freedom at home and a moral responsibility to speak out when it is threatened anywhere.
"On this Religious Freedom Day, I stand in solidarity with everyone across the globe who is forced to practice the state-established religion of their nation under threat of punishment or death, and those who today will resort to practicing their faith in hushed and fearful secrecy.
"In particular, I stand with Saeed Abedini, a 32-year-old American citizen with dual Iranian citizenship, who is now imprisoned in Iran for practicing his Christian faith. Saeed's only "crime' is that the Iranian mullahs hate his Christian faith, and we need the U.S. government to speak out and engage the international community in advocating for his immediate release.
"Of course, abuses like this are more widespread than many Americans realize, with many documented cases occurring in nations spanning the globe, from Saudi Arabia to China to Venezuela to Cuba, to name a few. I encourage all who love freedom to speak out against these offenses and stand tall for universal religious freedom. I also pray that on this Religious Freedom Day, every American finds meaningful time to spend with family and friends in prayer and devotion, and in thanking God that we live in the freest country ever known to man."