He called on "Islamic leaders throughout the world to condemn terrorism as something that contradicts the teachings of the Koran," asking "may this clear and precise condemnation resound from the lips" of leaders of countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey.
Metropolitan Hilarion also pointed to the Middle East and North Africa as areas where Christians are especially targeted, and lie "in the pathway of the political and/or economic interests of those forces who are not afraid to use terrorists in pursuit of their goals, pretending that they are fighting for freedom and democracy."
Inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogue is key to the international community uniting to aid persecuted Christians, he insisted.
A need for action
Pence pledged his prayers and the support of the Trump administration for persecuted Christians. And this support extends to persons of all faiths who are targeted because of their beliefs, he continued.
"Rest assured, in the Middle East, North Africa, anywhere terror strikes, America stands with those who are targeted and tormented for their belief, whether they are Christian, Yazidi, Shi'a, Sunni, or any other creed, the president's commitment to protecting people of faith," he said.
"Adherents of other religions across the world have not been spared [persecution]," he added, "and we will speak and pray for them as well. For as history attests, persecution of one faith is ultimately persecution of all faiths."
However, his pledge comes as religious freedom advocates have decried the absence of prominent administrative positions that promote religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy and advocate for persecuted religious minorities.
The Lantos Foundation recently sent a letter to President Trump asking him to "move swiftly" and nominate an Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom, as well as a Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting anti-Semitism. These two positions have remained vacant since Trump took office.
"The perilous state of religious freedom around the globe confirms the wisdom of America's leaders in creating a legal framework for addressing these abuses and ensuring that our foreign policy remains focused on protecting and advancing these fundamental rights," the foundation insisted, saying the ambassador and Special Envoy positions "are absolutely critical components of the legal framework."
President Obama did not nominate an Ambassador at-Large for International Religious Freedom until over a year after he took office. When his first ambassador, Suzan Johnson Cook, stepped down in 2013, no other ambassador was nominated until July of 2014, with Rabbi David Saperstein who served for the rest of Obama's term.
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Russia has also drawn serious concerns for its religious freedom abuses.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom just noted, in its 2017 annual report, that "in mainland Russia in 2016, new laws effectively criminalized all private religious speech not sanctioned by the state, the Jehovah's Witnesses stand on the verge of a nationwide ban, and innocent Muslims were tried on fabricated charges of terrorism and extremism."
Russia's restrictive laws were reportedly an impetus for the World Summit moving from Moscow to Washington, D.C., Deseret News reported.
Rev. Franklin Graham noted on Thursday that the summit was originally set to be in Moscow, where Christians suffered greatly under Communism. However, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reportedly moved the location from Moscow to Washington, D.C. last year.