Did you think that being a State Senator would ever involve you in a struggle for religious freedom across the globe?
This afternoon, I was invited to a reception for the daughter of slain Pakistani politician Salman Taseer. The hosting parties were Pakistani-American constituents, who have immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Oakton and Chantilly.
Mr. Taseer was the Governor of Punjab and a charismatic leader in Pakistan. He was also outspoken against persecutions under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws against Christians who practiced their religion.
A few months ago he was assassinated by extremists who want to destroy the historic Christian community in Punjab. Now his daughter is in the U.S. visiting with the Pakistani community, Muslim and Christian alike, to spread her message of forgiveness and religious fredom.
Also at the coffee were representatives from various NGO’s and Capitol Hill offices. (Also present was the head of the Obama Administration’s Institute of Religious Freedom, who gave a disappointingly banal speech which totally failed to identify the problem, i.e. the persecution of Christians of Pakistan, and thus offered no solution).
Why is this relevant to Virginia?
First, there are thousands of Virginians with family overseas whose families are susceptible to religious violence. Second, the state of Virginia actively promotes its image overseas in order to build commercial contacts. It is no burden — and considerable benefit to the land which begat Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson — to ask our foreign trade partners about their policy regarding religious violence, before we invest our state dollars.