Losing Religious Liberty

Religion & Liberty interviews Nina Shea   (one of the true heroines of DC by the way --a tireless and mostly thankless champion of persecuted Christians and other believers for 30 years) the U.S. Commission in International Religious Freedom. From an interview preview:
Q: in what areas has the Obama Administration done commendable work? Are there areas where they could do more, especially in the Middle East?
A: I’m trying hard to think of any area where the Obama Administration has done commendable work on religious freedom or human rights. As I answer this over a year into the administration, it still has not appointed an Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, though it has appointed dozens of other envoys. This week it appointed one to an organization that advocates religious persecution — the Organization of Islamic Conference, a religious organization dedicated to opposing Israel and spreading a law to criminally punish apostasy from Islam. Regarding the Religious Freedom Commission, there’s been a seat vacant for a year now, too; it’s a presidential appointment. I see that there has been a tradeoff of human rights for other issues – security, trade or global warming. The Christian groups and Muslim liberals in the Middle East have been abandoned. Iranian dissidents have been abandoned by him. Egyptian, Iraqi and Sudanese Christians feel abandoned by him. 
All of which we sort of know, but I hadn't really focused on the degree to which we've abandoned decent Muslims by refusing to shine sunlight on their plight, lest their persecutors be offended.

There has especially been an abandonment of the Muslims of Darfur in western Sudan. Darfur was a major issue before President Obama came into office. There was a strong movement to save Darfur with bi-weekly, full-page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post and with George Clooney and other Hollywood stars going to Darfur. Those voices have fallen silent and I really don’t understand it. I think that people like Samantha Power who went into the administration on a Sudan platform and who had a Harvard career built on stopping genocide, should see that policies are adopted that immediately end the genocide in Darfur and ensure free and fair elections take place throughout Sudan this spring, or resign. I recently met with her and she told me that the administration has sent its special envoy to Sudan many times, trying to negotiate with Khartoum and offer Gen. Omar-al Bashir incentives or “cookies and smiley faces,” as our envoy called them.
When he was a presidential candidate, Barak Obama wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post, stating: “[W]hen the history of this tragedy is written, nobody will remember how many times officials visited the region or how much humanitarian aid was delivered. They will only remember the death toll.” Well, hundreds of thousands of people of Darfur are still suffering in refugee camps where women are raped, where there’s terrible abuse and the spread of deadly diseases, where people can’t lead their lives and flourish.
This picture really did say it all.

Update: on the heels of this interview comes a report from Der Spiegel saying Christians are now the most persecuted group in the world.