Donald J. Trump
President of the United States 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Secretary of the Department of State 2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Vice President of the United States 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Acting Administrator of USAID 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20004
June 18, 2020
Dear Administrator Barsa,
On behalf of our organizations, we write to express deep concern about the appointment of Mark Kevin Lloyd to serve as Religious Freedom Adviser of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and, for the reasons set out below, urge that he be removed from his role.
The leaders of USAID should exemplify the best of America. They recognize their commitment to an organization that leads in helping the world’s poorest countries to improve their economy, security and health. In our opinion, Mr. Lloyd’s inflammatory and inaccurate interpretation of Islam and Muslim communities should disqualify him from such a position–especially considering that his position precisely deals with upholding religious freedoms for all.
In 2016, as a paid field director for the Trump campaign, Mr. Lloyd shared a post on social media calling Islam a “barbaric cult.” As of Tuesday, posts on his Facebook page accusing Barack Obama of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and claiming that those that believe Islam don’t understand history, were still public and viewable. Outside of his direct comments which mischaracterize Islam and demonize its adherents, in 2015 he shared an article celebrating the abuses of religious freedoms of Uyghur Muslims in China. Just yesterday, the House voted to sanction Chinese government officials complacent in abuses against Muslims in China, yet our administration rewards individuals who deem China’s role in suppressing religious freedoms amongst its Muslim population as something to be celebrated. This is particularly abhorrent behavior for someone with a primary responsibility of protecting religious freedoms in our country and world.
Mr. Lloyd’s rhetoric is disturbing, and demonstrates a clear bias against Islam and its adherents, even though the Religious Freedom Adviser is supposed to protect the free exercise of religion and promote tolerance, respect, understanding, and equality. Mr. Lloyd’s racist statements underscore his inability to adhere to the values he has been appointed to uphold.
Mr. Lloyd has demonstrated bias against a major world religion that is followed by millions of Americans. As a proposed representative of our government and specifically, USAID’s Religious Freedom Adviser, he is supposed to represent and uphold religious freedoms for all of us. His inflammatory, Islamophobic statements exhibit an inability to do that.
We therefore urge USAID and the administration to remove Mark Lloyd from his role as Religious Freedom Adviser, and to instead find an individual capable of upholding the religious freedom of peoples from all backgrounds and creeds.
Wa’el Alzayat Emgage Action, CEO
American Jewish Council’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI)
Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Libyan American Alliance Director of Civil Society and Community
Defending Rights & Dissent
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Peace Action Montgomery Equality Labs
Asian American Advocacy Fund
Imam Mahdi Center
Islamic Society Of Chester County
Muslim Community Network (MCN)
Students Against Hindutva Ideology (SAHI)
American Muslim Advisory Council
Masjid Al Madinah
Islamic Society of Greater Houston
Poligon Education Fund