Antonio Maestas, Representative, United States

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Dear President Moon Jae-in,

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I am writing from New Mexico which is a state in the southwest United States. As we too struggle with an international pandemic I want to thank you for your tremendous leadership in flattening the curve and protecting the people of the Republic of Korea.

I am writing this letter to ask for your leadership once again. It is my understanding that a group is being scapegoated for the Covid-19 outbreak in the Republic of Korea. Specifically, the treatment of the people of Shincheonji Church of Jesus (SCJ) and Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).

The pandemic was unexpected and we are still learning about it to this day. People are believing the false reports that SCJ is responsible for the spread of COVID-19 within the country. This has resulted in a lawsuit filed against SCJ and a proclamation released by government officials to dissolve the church and revoke the license of HWPL. It is unfair and dangerous to place blame on the spread of COVID-19 on SCJ.

There are also more than 5,500 reports of persecution and hate crimes against SCJ members and its HWPL affiliates. You can continue your great work of pandemic response by quelling this scapegoating that fuels these abuses.

I realize that Shincheonji may be outside mainstream of the majority of Korean society. This may partly explain why they were vilified to such extent and that is why is so important to stand up now for religious freedom as a fundamental human right.

President Moon, I respectfully ask of you pay close attention and do all you can do to stop this development and ensure their safety and freedoms. Your leadership will ensure Republic of Korea remains a nation that vigorously protects and defends the basic human rights of all people. Thank you for your time.

With Respect:

Antonio “Moe” Maestas

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