‘Someone who doesn’t recognize the importance of religious diversity in our country cannot credibly promote religious freedom internationally…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said a federal religious freedom adviser should be removed from his post because he called Islam a “barbaric cult,” in a press release.
President Donald Trump appointed Mark Kevin Lloyd in May to serve as a religious freedom adviser for the U.S. Agency for International Development, USA Today reported.
Lloyd should not advocate for religious freedom on behalf of the United States because he has a “long history of promoting hateful, Islamophobic rhetoric,” Omar said.
“Someone who doesn’t recognize the importance of religious diversity in our country cannot credibly promote religious freedom internationally,” she said.
Lloyd expressed ideas on social media that Castro and Omar believe to be offensive.
Lloyd shared a meme on Facebook after the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, in which a Muslim attacker who considered himself an ally of the Islamic State shot and killed 49 people.
The meme said that would-be gun buyers should have to eat bacon before they can purchase a firearm, a reference to Islam’s ban on pork consumption.
He said Islam is a cult that seeks to impose Sharia law in the United States and that “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight.”
Before Lloyd joined the Trump administration, he had served as the Virginia field director for the president’s 2016 campaign.
Castro said Lloyd could not properly serve the one-third of countries that have majority-Muslim populations in USAID’s jurisdiction.
“I fear with Mr. Lloyd at the helm those countries will face further discrimination,” he said. “I strongly urge USAID to remove Mr. Lloyd from his position as USAID’s Religious Freedom Adviser effective immediately.”
When Lloyd was appointed, a USAID spokesman said that “Lloyd is a consummate professional who served his country honorably in the Navy. The comments he made four years ago were in reference to radical Islam, not Islam.”