Congressman Francis Rooney Statement on the Importance of Religious Freedom to Fight Islamic-inspired Terrorism
Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Francis Rooney, Vice-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and former United States Ambassador to the Holy See, participated in a hearing to demonstrate how religious freedom can be used effectively to combat radical Islamic terrorism.
Congressman Rooney stated “Religious freedom is an important soft power tool for combatting radical Islamic extremism. When practiced freely, religion provides stability in society, leading to tolerance of differing views. Promoting free expression of religion in the Islamic world, including eliminating blasphemy laws, ending persecution of religious minorities, and promoting an interpretation of the Koran aligned with 21st century mores, would curtail the prevalence of extremist views.”
Congressman Rooney is an advocate for the use of soft power of religious freedom to counter extremist ideology. During his time as Ambassador to the Holy See, from 2005-2008 under President George W. Bush, Congressman Rooney worked with Pope Benedict XVI on the common goal of coming to terms with Islamic-inspired terrorism. Further, Congressman Rooney has written extensively on the topic, including an op-ed series published in May 2017 on the role of religious freedom today, and religious freedom and Islamic society.