State Department Calls for International Religious Freedom

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
July 13, 2019US News

Even after the Holocaust of World War II—a tragic episode of prejudice against religion—followers of various faiths continue to be persecuted around the world.

In China alone, practitioners of Falun Gong, Christians, Uyghur Muslims, and Tibetan Buddhists are persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for their spiritual beliefs.

The State Department, in response to these human rights violations, is holding its second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom from July 16 through July 18, hosted by Secretary Mike Pompeo.

Sam Brownback, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, hopes to shed light on these injustices and compel religious followers through the event to defend their religious freedom.

Interview with Ambassador-at-Large

Brownback detailed the event during a conference call on July 11.

“The lead speakers for the whole event will be those who have been persecuted, and we have over 20 different people from many different faiths who will testify,” said Brownback.

Speakers include a rabbi from the synagogue shooting in San Diego, and a Muslim who survived the mosque shooting in New Zealand, each sharing their stories.

That same day, Brownback explained the event’s purpose during a Department press briefing.

“What we hope to see—and these are specific actions—but religious freedom round tables started up around the world, where various religious actors and civil society, people in various countries, would come together and stand up for each other’s religious freedom,” he said.

The ambassador said that the department has already formed 10 round tables internationally.

The event will kick off at the Holocaust Museum on July 15, a place that Brownback said reminds people of “never again.”

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