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USCIRF: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the continuing prosecution of Rev. Yat Michael and Rev. Peter Reith who face the death penalty if convicted on the baseless charges of undermining Sudan’s constitution and waging war against the state.
Religion News Service: USCIRF, an independent watchdog panel created by Congress to monitor religious freedom conditions worldwide, issued its 16th annual report last week.
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: Reports of pre-election violence, combined with rising societal and political tensions, increase the likelihood of religiously-motivated violence around Nigeria’s February 14 presidential elections, warns the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Huffington Post: Seven religious freedom advocates have offered to personally receive 100 lashes each in the place of Raif Badawi, a liberal Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.”
USCIRF: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on April 9, 2014 announced his reappointment of USCIRF Commissioner Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on March 28, 2014 announced his reappointment of USCIRF Commissioners Mary Ann Glendon and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser to the USCIRF.”
Sarah Torre at Heritage: “‘The United States should promote freedom of religion or belief around the world, given the importance of religious freedom to human rights, economic development, stability, and democracy,’ notes the Ryan budget, specifically recommending continued funding of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has played an important role in monitoring religious persecution around the world and helping guide U.S. public diplomacy to promote religious liberty as a fundamental human right.”
Agence France-Presse: “The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government advisory panel, voiced fear that the rise in laws banning blasphemy was leading to punishment of people who merely express different religious views or who have been falsely accused.”
Washington Post: “In the first meeting of its kind, members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom met with the European Parliament’s working group on freedom of religion or belief to explore opportunities for trans-Atlantic and international cooperation.”
Catholic World News: “The House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations also heard testimony on the worldwide persecution of Christians from representatives of Alliance Defending Freedom, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and Impulso 18, as well as from Catholic writer John Allen.” The post includes a link to video of the entire hearing.
Outlook: “Testifying before the Congressional committee, Tehmina Arora from Alliance Defending Freedom-India alleged that attacks have been reported across the country over the past five years, though primarily concentrated in states where the main opposition BJP has been in power and where groups associated with it are active.”
Christian persecution, sexual assaults and mob attacks going unpunished in India, ADF testifies before House | Christian Post
Christian Post: “‘India, in spite of its long tradition for religious tolerance, finds itself in the throes of religious fundamentalism and violence against religious minorities for the past few decades. Reports by faith-based rights agencies show that Christians in India have suffered about 150 violent attacks on an average in the past few years,’ argued ADF attorney Tehmina Arora before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.”
AINA: “Ms. Tehmina Arora, Attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom-India . . . ‘India, in spite of its long tradition for religious tolerance, finds itself in the throes of religious fundamentalism and violence against religious minorities for the past few decades.’”
Anti-Christian violence detailed in hearing calling for filling of religious freedom post | Morning Star News
Morning Star News: “Tehmina Arora, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom-India (ADF-India), told the subcommittee that the impunity that violent mobs enjoy is an important factor in anti-Christian persecution in India. ‘Police resist filing criminal complaints and have on several instances allegedly threatened to falsely incriminate victims in some cases,’ she said.”
FOX News: “Among the others who testified Tuesday were Tehmina Arora, attorney at Alliance Defending Freedom-India and Khataza Gondwe, from Christian Solidarity Worldwide.”
Washington Times: “Tehmina Arora, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, noted violence in India, where Christian pastor Orucanti Sanjeevi was beaten to death at his home by Hindu extremists last month.”
“Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Tehmina Arora will testify Tuesday before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). Arora will speak about the increasing persecution of Christians in India and how crimes against them are going unpunished.”
Robert P. George, president of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), at The Hill: These prisoners of conscience have been unjustly barred from enjoying the most basic human rights enshrined in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international instruments and standards.
Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett at CNN: “While religious freedom cannot be separated from religion, it is actually less about religion per se than affirming a bedrock, internationally-recognized human right, one that has proven time and again to be a foundational freedom for other freedoms.”
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Press Release: “The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today urged the U.S. government to emphasize the plight of religious minorities and the protection of religious freedom for all Syrians during the upcoming Geneva II peace conference, scheduled to begin on January 22nd. USCIRF increasingly has become concerned about the sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict which poses a growing danger to the religious freedoms of all Syrians, and how the potential spillover jeopardizes religious freedom regionally.”
Robert George and Katrina Lanto Swett of USCIRF: During Christmas week, Christians joyously celebrated Christ’s birth in a manger. But across parts of the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, followers of Jesus face a rising tide of repression, intimidation, and violence.
Reuters: For example, the declaration provides the foundation for much of the agenda of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, on which we serve. Yet 75 percent of the world’s population now lives in countries in which this freedom is highly restricted, according to a recent Pew study.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom last week issued its most recent Policy Brief, this one titled Sudan’s Enduring Question: The Role of Shari’ah in the Constitution and Law, (Nov. 2013). The Policy Brief says in part . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In a press release on Friday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged Obama “to raise concerns about the dire religious freedom situation in Pakistan, with both Muslims and religious minorities consistently confronting violence or jail.”
Washington Times: Much of the focus on the tensions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia has been on which political group will ultimately gain power in the various struggles. However, the bombing of a church in Pakistan and the targeting of non-Muslims in the terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya highlight the vulnerability of religious minorities in many parts of the world.
Religion Clause Blog: In Ghori-Ahmad v. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, (D DC, Sept. 17, 2013), the DC federal district court refused to dismiss claims of religious and national origin discrimination, and of retaliation, bought by a former employee of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Religion Clause Blog: Last week, President Obama announced his intent to appoint Dr. James J. Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom yesterday issued the findings of a staff visit to Burma in May. In a Policy Brief titled Burna: Implications of Religious and Ethnic Violence,the report concluded in part . . .
Morningstar News: Impunity for terrorists and state-sponsored discrimination against Christians in northern Nigeria has led not to sectarian war but to “genocide,” the general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) told Morning Star News.
Religion Clause Blog: In an Aug. 21 Washington Post op ed, Robert George and Katrina Lantos Swett, chair and vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, strongly criticize the Administration for failing to redesignate “countries of particular concern” (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recently issued a Fact Sheet on Boko Haram’s religiously motivated violence in Nigeria. The Fact Sheet (full text) explains . . .
USCIRF: The only thing Mr. Badawi appears to be guilty of is creating a platform on the Internet for religious debate in Saudi Arabia, a right he is guaranteed to under international law. All charges should be dropped and Mr. Badawi should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said USCIRF Chairman Robert George.
Christian Post: Princeton law professor Robert P. George, newly elected chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), says that USCIRF must act as America’s conscience for religious liberty, which is a fundamental part of human dignity.
Deseret News: “A common theory about freedom of religion suggests that such a value is grounded in a modus vivendi, or compromise: People agree to respect each other’s freedom in order to avoid religiously motivated strife,” according to Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett in an article for the Wall Street Journal. But this view fails to take into consideration that religious liberty is not just a matter of “sensible social compromise, or just and American ideal or a Western value, but an essential element of human dignity.”
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom yesterday issued a press release calling on the Ethiopian government to release 29 Muslims who were among a larger group initially arrested a year ago.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom today issued a Fact Sheet on Pakistan’s History of Violence: A Chronology of Targeted Violence against Religious Communities (January 2012-June 2013).
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a press release calling on U.S. officials to raise with the Chinese the cases of prominent religious prisoners and human rights lawyers in China.
CNSNews: As the State Department prepares to release its annual report on international religious freedom Monday, a key issue for many Americans concerned about religious persecution is whether it will blacklist a handful of particularly egregious violators – or, as in previous years, ignore the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom today transmitted to the President, Secretary of State and Congressional leaders its Annual Report on religious freedom around the world.
Religion Clause Blog: USCIRF wants the U.S. to question violations of religious freedom and human rights in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Bangladesh.
National Review: As David French and my colleague Nina Shea have reported on The Corner, Iran has imprisoned and abused an American citizen, pastor Saeed Abedini and, following a trial on January 21, may sentence him to death. He is accused of undermining national security because of his work with Iran’s burgeoning house-church movement, most recently by raising money for an orphanage.
Baptist Press: The U.S. government and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom have issued calls for the release of an American pastor who may face the gallows for spreading the Gospel in Iran . . . The U.S. State Department has yet to call for Abedini’s release, although U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor urged Jan. 18 that the pastor be freed.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a press release on Wednesday calling for the government of Iran to release Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedeni who was arrested in September for his involvement with the underground house church movement
Religion Clause Blog: On Saturday, President Obama leaves on a 4 day trip to Thailand, Burma and Cambodia. (USA Today). On Wednesday, in advance of the trip, Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote the President urging him to raise with Burma issues of religious freedom and ethnic and communal violence.
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom last Friday released a new report titled The Religion-State Relationship & the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Comparative Textual Analysis of the Constitutions of Majority Muslim Countries and Other OIC Members. It surveys the constitutions of 46 Muslim-majority countries and 10 others that are OIC members. According to USIRF’ssummary of the report . . .
ACLU looks at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, claims Zuhdi Jasser and Robert George tied to the “Islamophobia industry”
ACLU Blog: First, Zuhdi Jasser. He is highlighted in a recent report that describes a network of Islamophobia “misinformation experts,” as someone who “validate[s] and authenticate[s] manufactured myths about Muslims and Islam.” . . . Second, Robert George. George also has ties to the Islamophobia industry.
Religion Clause Blog: Today the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released and transmitted to the President its 2012 Annual Report (full text)(appendices) reviewing religious freedom abuses in 25 countries around the world.
Christianity May Be Eradicated in Iraq and Afghanistan, Says Chair of U.S. Religious Freedom Commission
CNSnews.com: Despite long-term U.S. military occupations aimed at establishing representative governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Christianity now faces the real threat of eradication in those countries because of severe and persistent persecution of Christians there, according to the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.