Nigerian Christian Holocaust hot topic at Global Religious Freedom Summit

Protecting religious freedom around the world has become more challenging last year, advocates said this week ahead of the second International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington on Tuesday.

The recent massacre of Christians in Nigeria, the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in China and the crimes against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, as well as the ongoing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe, are just a few of the global challenges on the agenda of religious leaders’ rallies small portion.

Organisers and key players of independent events say the global climate for protecting believers is more difficult and hopeful than it has been in recent years.

The three-day conference will feature dozens of speakers in the field of human rights, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussein; and NBA veteran Enes Kanter Freedom, whose criticism of the oppression of Uyghurs in China appears to have cost him a career opportunity.

Finnish evangelical Christian and parliament member Päivi Räsänen, who will face charges despite winning a trial in Helsinki earlier this year, will also speak. State prosecutors are appealing the acquittal — which is permissible in that country — and Ms Lasanin fears the case could drag on for years.

According to Ambassador Sam Brownback, the former U.S. special envoy for international religious freedom, the importance of religious freedom is “now much more public” with the summit.

“I think this fight has been largely ignored or misclassified over the years,” Brownback said in a phone interview.

He said the international community has come to realize that China’s persecution of the Uighur minority is not just Beijing’s attempt to “suppress unsettled people,” but the religious persecution of Muslim groups “because of communism and religion.”

He added: “I think the situation in Ukraine has a lot of implications for religious freedom, some of which are recognized, [although] Many don’t. “

Mr Brownback said the global fight for religious freedom “is still going on, it’s just more public and people are identifying it more appropriately.”

Nury Turkel, who was recently elected president of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, told The Washington Times that the IRF summit was “extremely important.” He said he hoped the conference would look at religious freedom “in the context of national security.”

Mr Turkel said, “The international community has repeatedly made the mistake – especially policymakers and liberal democracies – to wait until religious persecution, human rights abuses have reached the level of a humanitarian crisis. I think it’s a mistake. practice; it’s a very expensive method.”

Instead, he said the world should act lest abuses “turn into a genocidal campaign of crimes against humanity”.

Speaking at the conference, he said: “I want to use this platform in my official capacity to call policy makers’ attention to some of the worst human rights abuses, religious persecution, namely in Nigeria and India, which should bring us and European anti-Semitism and The rise of Islamophobia [of which] ignored by European leaders. “

Mr Turkel, a Uighur who has taken refuge in the United States, said he was also concerned about high-tech equipment being used as a tool of oppression.

“I think the international community is dealing with a new type of religious persecution and genocide that has been quietly tested, developed and promoted by communist China, which is the use of technology for religious persecution,” he said. “Today, more than 80 countries have adopted or are adopting Chinese surveillance technology that threatens civil liberties, religious freedom, and even democratic norms.”

Human rights advocate and former USCIRF chair Katrina Lantossweet has joined Mr. Brownback as co-convener of the event. In an email, she said the goal of the meeting was to draw attention to the persecuted.

She said she hoped the summit “will not only raise the profile of those communities that need our support, but help provide a roadmap for lawmakers and activists on how best to mobilize their energies to defend our deepest the common rights of freedom — namely, freedom of religion, conscience and belief.”

“Most importantly, we want to send the message that religious freedom is a force for good in our world and worth defending for everyone, everywhere, at all times,” she said.

Getting the public to think about religious freedom globally will be a challenge, said USCIRF Commissioner Frank Wolf, a veteran congressional Republican who focused on human rights during his tenure on Capitol Hill.

“I think we’re in a worse position than we’ve been in a long time,” Mr Wolfe said in an interview. “There is less activity internationally and fewer people are interested or concerned about religious freedom issues,” he added.

Mr Wolfe called on the congregation to resume holding the annual “Religious Freedom Sunday” or similar weekly celebrations, drawing attention to religious freedom issues by keeping the Saturday Sabbath faith.

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