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Blunt's bill would create Middle East ambassador focusing on religious freedom

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is touting passage of legislation that authorizes the appointment of a special ambassador to the Middle East focused on religious freedom.

The Missouri Republican says his legislation received unanimous approval from the U.S. House on Friday. It passed the Senate earlier this month and now goes to President Barack Obama.

Blunt has previously expressed concerns about the way Christians have been attacked, jailed and mistreated. The bill authorizes up to $1 million annually for a special envoy's office to promote freedoms for religious minorities in what the bill describes as the Near East and South Central Asia.

The envoy would have the rank of ambassador. In addition to promoting religious freedom, the envoy would recommend responses by the U.S. when religious freedoms are violated.

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