Making a Case For Religious Freedom and America's National Security

In early May, the Religious Freedom Institute, together with members from the International Religious Freedom Roundtable met with senior staff of the National Security Council team to discuss the critical role that religious freedom can play in America's national security strategy. 

 The meeting was led by Greg Mitchell, co-chair of the IRF Roundtable and RFI President Thomas Farr. Farr, together with Dennis Hoover of the Institute for Global Engagement, presented a policy brief with recommendations for the new administration. These included practical steps for incorporating religious freedom into foreign policy, including as a critical component of the National Security Strategy. 

RFI Senior Advisor Timothy Shah presented evidence from his work. Then Nilay Saiya, a Senior Fellow at RFI and Assistant Professor of Political Science at State University of New York, Brockport, presented data-based evidence from his work specifically showing the linkages that exist between religious freedom and religion related violence and terrorism. 

The meeting came at a critical time just weeks prior to President Trump's first major international trip, one that started in Saudi Arabia. The trip included both a major speech by President Trump on religion and violence and the launch of a new global center to counter extremism based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

As the case was made to the National Security Council, if those efforts do not promote religious freedom they will ultimately prove either futile or to only exacerbate the problems they seek to address.

Past and Present Challenges to Religious Freedom in Pakistan

On May 16, the Religious Freedom Institute hosted a discussion on the past and present challenges to religious freedom in Pakistan. The conversation featured remarks from Yaqoob Bangash, Farahnaz Ispahani, and Jay Kansara and was moderated by RFI Senior Advisor Timothy Shah.

Bangash and Ispahani drew on their extensive knowledge of Pakistan's early history and present political dynamics in illuminating some of the most pressing threats to religious freedom in the country today, including challenges facing Hindu, Ahmadi, Shia, and Christian groups.

Mr. Bangash is a Senior Fellow of the Religious Freedom Institute and Director at the Centre for Governance and Policy at the Information Technology University, Lahore, Pakistan. 

Ms. Ispahani is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former member of the Pakistani Parliament.

Mr. Kansara is Director of Government Affairs at the Hindu American Foundation

RFI Leadership Promotes Religious Freedom at World Summit In Defense of Persecuted Christians

On May 10-13, more than 600 delegates from 130 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. to address the global challenge of Christian persecution. 

The event was filled with powerful testimonies of Christians around the globe - from the daughter of an Iranian martyr, to the brother of Coptic Christians killed by ISIS in Libya, to church leaders from South America, Africa, and Asia. 

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Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, gave a plenary address to the summit on the topic of advocating for freedom. His remarks called for an urgency and a fierce commitment not just to the protection of Christians, but to the promotion of religious freedom. The principle that will enable them "to live in the world as his followers, as salt and light, as Christians." 

Kent Hill, Executive Director, and Tim Shah, Senior Advisor of the Religious Freedom Institute also participated in the event as Special Advisors and led breakout sessions to discuss the challenges and opportunities of advocating on behalf of Christians in particular contexts of persecution. 

Critical to any successful advocacy will be the principle of promoting religious freedom for all. This was one of the key findings of the Under Caesar's Sword project which studied in detail the responses of Christian communities to persecution in more than 25 of the world's most repressive countries. 

The World Summit In Defense of Persecuted Christians was organized by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and was organized as an opportunity to bring greater attention to the global plight of persecution around the world. 

Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Conference and Members of Congress including Senators James Lankford and Roy Blunt also participated. 

"I’m here on behalf of the President as a tangible sign of his commitment to defending Christians and, frankly, all who suffer for their beliefs across the wider world," said Vice President Pence in his opening remarks. 

What is to be Done? Symposium of Under Caesar's Sword Project

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How do Christians respond to persecution and advance religious freedom for everyone? How can the rest of the world exercise solidarity with those especially persecuted?

These questions were at the heart of the one day symposium of the Under Caesar's Sword project hosted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2017. 

More than 225 attendees gathered for the launch of the public report: In Response to Persecution: Findings of the Under Caesar's Sword Project on Global Christian Communities

This report was one of the fruits of the work done by a team of 17 scholars who studied the response to persecution by Christian communities in more than 25 countries across the globe. The results were captured in a report that includes not only the analytical findings of this research, but substantial recommendations for action by a host of actors from international advocacy and assistance organizations, academics, religious communities, government agencies, and even persecuted communities themselves. 

The event featured keynote addresses from His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former member of the Pakistani parliament. 

A wide number of speakers including project scholars, advocates for religious freedom, and representative from Christian communities around the globe provided analysis both on the findings of the project and more importantly - and the theme of the symposium - what is to be done. 

His Excellency Sebastian Francis Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, Pakistan provided a powerful testimony from his own life experience of shepherding a church in the context of incredible challenge and opposition. 

The event also featured a special screening of the documentary Under Caesar's Sworddirected by award-winning director Jason Cohen. 

The full videos of event are available from the Under Caesar's Sword website here: http://ucs.nd.edu/public-events/launch/watch/

The symposium was hosted by the Under Caesar's Sword project and its main partners the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and the Religious Freedom Institute, in collaboration with Aid to the Church in Need USA.

Co-sponsoring the event were the Program on Church, State & Society at the University of Notre Dame, the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, In Defense of Christians, and the Institute for Global Engagement

To learn more about the Under Caesar's Sword project and to access additional resources visit: www.ucs.nd.edu

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Experts and Policy Makers Join to Launch Policy Brief for New Administration and Congress

On March 20, more than 110 lawmakers, congressional staffers, and religious freedom advocates gathered on Capitol Hill for the release of a new policy brief entitled: U.S. Foreign Policy And International Religious Freedom: Recommendations For The Trump Administration And U.S. Congress. 

A core group of Senators and Representatives gave their support for the recommendations which make the case that religious freedom is a critical component of foreign policy not only as a human rights issue, but also because of its implications for security and stability for the United States and across the globe. 

Senator Bob Corker, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opened the event highlighting the need to prioritize religious freedom and to implement the legislation that exists, both in the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act and in the newly enacted Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act. 

Expressing his own concern for the issue, Senator Cory Gardner, said, "Religious freedom is not simply an academic policy concern, it is one that is deeply personal." 

Reflecting a core premise of the policy brief, Representative Bill Flores made the case that "promoting religious freedom is critical for not only human rights, but for any hope for global peace."

Representative Francis Rooney, who is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, expressed from his experience as a diplomat the critical conviction that"you cannot advance religious freedom for one, without advancing religious freedom for all."

In addition to the reflections given by members of Congress, a panel of seasoned religious freedom experts discussed the implications for the recommendations made by the policy brief. Former Congressman Frank Wolf, Former Canadian Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Andrew Bennet, and USCIRF Commissioner Kristina Arriaga joined the co-authors of the brief, RFI President Thomas Farr and Dennis Hoover, Vice President for Research and Publications at the Institute for Global Engagement. 

The discussion focused on the need to further prioritize religious freedom for all communities in American foreign policy, a process that will involve the work of civil society and lawmakers, and also to increase the skill with which that policy is implemented by American diplomats and the administration. 

Cornerstone: Reflections from Under Caesar's Sword Project

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Under Caesar’s Sword is a three-year, collaborative global research project by a team of scholars to investigate how Christian communities respond when their religious freedom is severely violated. A public report with the findings of this project will be launched at the Public Symposium: What is to be Done? on April 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. 

Research for this project centered around three core questions:

How do Christian communities respond to repression?

Why do they choose the responses that they do?

What are the results of these responses?

The program is an effort to discover and draw attention to the ways in which Christian communities around the world respond to the severe violation of their religious freedom. These strategies vary widely, ranging from nonviolent protest movements of the kind that Pope John Paul II led in communist Poland, to the complex diplomacy of Christian churches in China, to simply fleeing from persecution en masse, as Christians have in Iraq. Further, the project aims to raise solidarity with persecuted Christians worldwide and to help them respond justly and effectively.

One of the major outcomes from this project is to better inform faith leaders, civil society groups, and governments of concrete actions that can be taken to support those who suffer persecution. These responses will be varied, but should provide observations for supporting any community suffering for their religious beliefs.

This series of blog posts draws from scholars' research, personal reflections, and responses to current situations of religious persecution. 

Shah: Religious Perspectives On Democracy, Civil Society And Constitutional Issues Today

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On March 14, RFI Senior Advisor Timothy Shah presented the opening keynote presentation at the Religious Perspectives On Democracy, Civil Society And Constitutional Issues Today conference organized by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) and the Kairos Dialogue Network. 

In his paper, Shah argued that many of the secularist aims, rather than protecting the rights of all have been controlling of religious claims and a threat to limit freedom and democracy in drastic ways. He argues that there is a way to go "beyond secularism" but not "beyond religious freedom." 

In order to make progress towards the legitimate goals of authentic religious freedom and religious tolerance as well as an authentic and genuinely liberal form of democracy premised on equal citizenship for all, it is necessary to go “beyond secularism” — though not “beyond religious freedom” — by recovering a sound understanding of religious liberty rooted in (and not hostile to) the world’s religious, cultural, and philosophical traditions.
— Timothy Shah

Cornerstone: Pakistan: Religious Identity and Religious Freedom

The role of religious identity in Pakistan has been an important part of the history of Pakistan. Many of the present day conflicts, from intercommunal violence to blasphemy laws, occur along the fault lines of religious communities. As Farahnaz Isphani has argued in her recent book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, there has been a sense in which rather than protecting the rights of all religious groups, the Pakistani state and society has sought to “purify” the community.  From its pre-independence population of 20.5% non-Muslims, the present number of non-Muslim minorities is estimated at less than 4%. The factors that have contributed to this are numerous and the present day implications for all Pakistanis – Muslim and non-Muslim alike – are concerning. Hostilities and restrictions have been directed not only at non-Muslims, but non-Sunnis or those who would defend views considered outside the accepted orthodoxy.

What are the current challenges that are faced by Pakistan’s religious minorities? What can be done to promote a religious freedom that protects the rights of all Pakistani’s to freely believe as they wish, act on those beliefs, and participate in all of life?

A series of experts from Pakistan and around the world have contributed articles answering these questions. 

Philpott: POLITE PERSECUTION (First Things)

Not all persecution for religious beliefs entails martyrdom or physical brutalization. Yet, the cost for religious belief and identity are real and can be devastating. Violations of religious freedom - in the United States and globally - can take the form of "Polite Persecution."

This is the subject of a recent article at First Things by Daniel Philpott. An excerpt is included below or read the full article here: "POLITE PERSECUTION" | First Things

Daniel Philpott is an RFI Senior Associate Scholar and professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame and co-director of the project “Under Caesar’s Sword: Christian Response to Persecution"

No American has suffered the fate of Helen Berhane, the Eritrean gospel singer whose evangelizing earned her two years in a shipping container in the middle of a hot desert. But in the last decades American Christians, like Christians across the West, have faced a rising trend of what Pope Francis has termed “polite persecution.” As the pope explains, “if you don’t like this, you will be punished: you’ll lose your job and many things or you’ll be set aside.” At the hands of bureaucrats, bosses, and judges, Christian merchants, universities, schools, hospitals, charities, campus fellowships, students, public officials, employees, and citizens have been fired, fined, shut down, threatened with a loss of accreditation, and evicted for living out traditional convictions about marriage and sexuality.
How ought Christians to respond? A twofold lesson arises from Christians who have faced persecution over the centuries. The first is an injunction to avoid cooperation with sin; the second is an obligation, overlooked all too often during an era of relative freedom, to bear witness. Christians are to manifest a love that communicates the truth about friendship with Christ through language and life. In the face of polite persecution, this witness is unlikely to beget martyrdom but may well incur costs. And the history of Christianity shows that when those costs are accepted, witness is brightened and amplified.

Read More: Polite Persecution (First Things)

EVENT: What Is To Be Done? Responding to the Global Persecution of Christians

What Is To Be Done? Responding to the Global Persecution of Christians

Symposium of the Under Caesar’s Sword Project

How do Christians respond to persecution? How can the rest of the world exercise solidarity with them? What can be learned from studying Christian persecution that can be applied by those who are concerned about the persecution of any individual or group.

This day-long public symposium will feature the launch of the report, In Response to Persecution, a screening of the documentary Under Caesar’s Sword, and will propose concrete recommendations for action by government, civil society organizations, and faith communities. It will feature globally prominent speakers on religious freedom and leading scholars of global Christianity, including former Ambassadors, U.S. State Department officials, and Parliamentarians.

Browse the schedule and speakers, mark your calendar, and register now.

April 20, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 5:15 p.m
National Press Club
Washington, D.C.

The symposium is hosted by the Under Caesar's Sword project and its primary partners, the Religious Freedom Institute and the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, in close collaboration with Aid to the Church in Need.

EVENT: March 20 U.S. Foreign Policy and International Religious Freedom

U.S. FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION and U.S. Congress

Please join us on March 20 for the launch of U.S. Foreign Policy and International Religious Freedom: Recommendations for the Trump Administration and the U.S. Congress, a new Policy Brief co-published by the Religious Freedom Institute and the Institute for Global Engagement.

Monday March 20, 2017
3:00pm-5:00pm
Kennedy Caucus Room (SR-325)
Russell Senate Office Building
Light refreshments served


The Brief will be presented by its co-authors, Tom Farr of RFI and Dennis Hoover of IGE. This will be followed by responses from Members of Congress and other advocates and scholars of religious freedom.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Senator Bob Corker, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Senator Cory Gardner, Chairman, Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Congressman Trent Franks, Co-Chairman, Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus
  • Congressman Francis Rooney, Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Congressman Bill Flores, Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • Frank Wolf, Former Congressman and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative
  • Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, Commissioner at U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Andrew Bennett, former Canadian Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, senior fellow at Cardus, Senior Research Fellow of the Religious Freedom Research Project at Georgetown University

Past administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have started very slowly in implementing international religious freedom policy. Regrettably they have also had very limited success in addressing the alarming increase in religious persecution, radicalization, and violence around the world. The Trump Administration has an opportunityat low cost, to make a major contribution to religious freedom for all—and at the same time advance America’s interests in national security, international stability, fundamental human rights, and economic growth worldwide.

RSVP required:

To register please visit: http://bit.ly/IRFmarch20
or contact: Mr. Jeremy Barker,
 jeremy.barker@religiousfreedominstitute.org


The event is co-sponsored by the Religious Freedom Institute and the Institute for Global Engagement, in partnership with the International Religious Freedom Roundtable.

Shah and Philpott: In Defense of Religious Freedom

"Not so very long ago, the idea of religious freedom enjoyed all the self-evident virtue of a Norman Rockwell painting. Sure, Americans disagreed about what it meant in practice, leaving their Supreme Court to hash out the details. Still, however Americans differed in their religious beliefs, they espoused religious freedom and insisted that it cannot be government's job to promote any one religious sect over others or coerce anyone's conscience in religious matters." 

The reality is that this has changed. New critics have emerged about the value of religious freedom as a fundamental right. In this article Timothy Shah, RFI Senior Advisor, and Daniel Philpott, Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, review some of the arguments against religious freedom and make a case in defense of this "beleaguered human right." 

Philpott, Daniel and Timothy Samuel Shah. "IN DEFENSE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: NEW CRITICS OF A BELEAGUERED HUMAN RIGHT". Journal of Law and Religion 31.03 (2016): 380-395.

Download Full Text

Editorial: What Trump can do to Secure Religious Freedom (The Hill)

RFI President, Thomas Farr published an editorial with recommendations for the administration of President Trump on international religious freedom, and particularly the position of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom:

As a candidate, Donald Trump said very little publicly about rising threats to religious freedom abroad. But recent reports suggest that President Trump may be moving quickly to nominate the official charged by law to lead that element of United States foreign policy: the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
Given that President George W. Bush took well over a year to get his nominee in place, and President Barak Obama more than two, it appears that Trump may be placing a higher priority on international religious freedom than his predecessors.
He has ample reason to do so. Studies show that religious freedom can make substantial contributions to democratic stability, economic growth, and the undermining of religious violence and terrorism. 
Unfortunately, studies also show that religious freedom is in global decline, while religious persecution and terrorism are spreading.
In the Middle East, Christians, Yezidis, disfavored Muslims, and other minorities are still being savaged by ISIS and its jihadist cohorts. In Asia and Africa, millions more are persecuted by governments or terrorists. Religious persecution causes terrible human suffering, destroys economies, destabilizes societies, and abets the spread of jihadism.
Last September, candidate Trump invited religious-freedom advocates who had not endorsed him to meet at Trump Tower. At the time a Trump victory appeared unlikely, but it seemed a good opportunity to brief him anyway.
I’m glad I took that opportunity. Now I’d like to remind the president of what he said and suggest the steps he must take if his administration is to succeed where its predecessor failed. 
I offered my view then that the Obama administration had not prioritized religious freedom in its foreign policy and had missed a golden opportunity to promote stability and human flourishing. A Trump administration should not make the same mistake. 

Read More: What Trump Can Do To Secure Religious Freedom (The Hill)

 

RFI Announces $1.6 million Grant

Press Release

RFI Announces $1.6 million Grant

February 07, 2017, Washington, D.C.— The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) is pleased to announce the award of a $1.6 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust. The funding will be used to advance RFI’s goal of achieving broad acceptance of religious freedom as a fundamental human right, the cornerstone of a successful society, and a source of national and international security. The grant will focus in particular on RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team.

Religious freedom is in deepening global crisis. Outside the West, a dearth of religious freedom is driving political instability, economic stagnation, intellectual paralysis, religious conflict, and terrorism. Millions are subject to violent religious persecution by governments and non-state actors. Inside the West, religious freedom is increasingly misunderstood and degraded to a right of private worship. The crisis is multifaceted, complex, and serious.

“In the twenty-first century we are witnessing the emergence of a ‘perfect storm’ of skepticism, hostility, indifference, and ignorance concerning the meaning and value of religious freedom,” said Tom Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute. “Some Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist groups overseas view it as Western cultural imperialism. Secular authoritarian regimes see it as a threat to power and authority. Western democracies increasingly understand it as an illegitimate claim of privilege by religious people who seek to deny the equality of others.”

With its four Action Teams, the RFI is working to overcome opposition to religious freedom in South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the United States, and in the foreign policies of Western governments.

With the generous support of the Templeton Religion Trust, RFI’s South and Southeast Asia (SSEA) Action Team will be led by RFI Senior Advisor Timothy Shah and RFI Senior Fellow Rebecca Shah. They will work in that region to make religious freedom a priority for governments, civil society, religious communities, businesses, and the general public, with the ultimate aim of convincing stakeholders that religious freedom can help them achieve their own goals—political, economic, strategic, and religious.

"We are proud to embark on this project at a critical time in the region and the world," said Timothy Shah, SSEA Action Team leader. "The SSEA region hosts a large and dynamic population and is home to one third of the world's population and, in Indonesia and India, respectively the world's largest Muslim and Hindu countries. These countries represent both challenges and opportunities for strengthening religious freedom to protect the fundamental rights of all."

The SSEA Action Team will build a coalition of religious freedom actors in the region, produce a comprehensive report on the landscape of relevant actors, threats, and opportunities in the region, devise strategies to advance religious freedom, and take action to implement those strategies.

Learn More: South and Southeast Asia Action Team


The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. The RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.

Media Contact: Jeremy P. Barker
media@religiousfreedominstitute.org
202-838-7734
www.religiousfreedominstitute.org

Celebrating Religious Freedom and the Common Good

On November 15, 2016, the Religious Freedom Institute and the Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University co-hosted a private dinner to celebrate six years of the Religious Freedom Project and the launch of the Religious Freedom Institute. 

The dinner came at the conclusion of the day-long Religious Freedom Project Symposium highlighting the accomplishments of thirteen scholars around the theme of: Religious Freedom and the Common Good.

Senator Ben Sasse gave the keynote address at the daylong symposium and shared additional remarks at the private dinner, highlighting the need for both intellectual scholarship and practical application of religious freedom.

Also at the dinner, Tim Shah moderated a panel discussion with Robert Wilken, Allen Hertzke, and Rebecca Shah discussing the philosophical and practical impact that religious freedom has around the world. 

Six Prescriptions for International Religious Freedom in the President Trump Administration

On January 31, Tom Farr was the featured guest on the Faith & International Affairs Conference Call hosted by the Institute for Global Engagement. 

In his prepared remarks, Dr. Farr laid out six prescriptions for the new administration as it concerns international religious freedom policy. The call then concluded with a series of audience questions and discussion. 

Here are the six prescriptions: 

  1. The administration, and really the president, should state clearly not only that religious freedom is important to the United States, but that it is important to the world and as a consequence religious freedom for everyone will be consolidated and expanded under the Trump administration.
  2. The president should nominate quickly an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom with the personal credentials for success and give that Ambassador the authority and resources necessary to succeed.  
  3. The administration should begin to connect international religious freedom with international stability and, therefore, with U.S. national security. 
  4. The administration should look at international religious freedom as an "all of government" human rights and national security strategy, not simply the State department. 
  5. The administration should, within the Department of State, train and incentivize Foreign Service Officers and diplomats to advance religious freedom in our foreign policy. 
  6. The administration should not contribute to the decline of religious freedom in the United States by excluding Muslims and other non-Christian minorities from the administrations approach to religious freedom. 

RFI Calls on New Administration to Affirm Full and Equal Rights of Religious Freedom for American Muslims

January 18, 2017, Washington, D.C.—The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) calls upon the incoming administration to affirm that Muslim Americans—like all Americans—are entitled to religious freedom as articulated in our laws and in the First Amendment. The RFI opposes any immigration law or domestic policy that singles out Muslims or members of any other religious community and restricts their religious freedom.

The RFI is committed to achieving broad acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right, the cornerstone of any successful society, and a source of national and international security.

RFI President Thomas Farr said today that “it is morally wrong and strategically unwise to attempt to identify dangerous immigrants based on their religion. A vigorous vetting should apply sensible criteria, such as a history of violence, expressions of violent intent, or intentional association with terrorists.” Farr was the first director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom. He also directs Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Research Project.   

“Any policy that stigmatizes an entire religion and all its adherents sends precisely the wrong message,” added RFI Senior Fellow Rebecca Shah. “Many thousands of Muslims have come to the U.S. seeking the same freedom and opportunity that motivated every previous generation of immigrants.” Shah is a London School of Economics-trained scholar whose pioneering work explores religion’s impact on the lives of poor and outcaste women.

For over two centuries, our nation has been committed to protecting the dignity and freedom of people of all faiths. In a political and cultural climate that is deeply divided, the Religious Freedom Institute recalls the timeless words of America’s first president. 

Writing to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, George Washington emphasized that the new nation would not flourish without religious freedom. All Americans “possess … liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship” he wrote. Washington continued:

[T]he Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Media Contact: Jeremy P. Barker
media@religiousfreedominstitute.org
202-838-7734
www.religiousfreedominstitute.org


The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. The RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C. www.religiousfreedominstitute.org

What President Trump Should—and Shouldn’t—Do About International Religious Freedom - Farr To Join Faith and International Affairs Conference Call

RFI President Tom Farr will be the featured guest for the January Faith and International Affairs Conference Call, hosted by the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) on January 31, 2017.

Conference Call Title: "What President Trump Should—and Shouldn’t—Do About International Religious Freedom"

Dr. Farr will share insights and recommendations for the Trump administration, particularly in light of the recently-enacted Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act.

Details: Tuesday, January 31, 1:00pm EST

Visit IGE's website to RSVP and learn more about the Faith and International Affairs Conference Call series: https://globalengage.org/news-media/press-release/january-2017-faith-international-affairs-conference-call

Catholic Herald Features Coverage of Under Caesar's Sword Documentary

The Arlington Catholic Herald published an extensive article on the issue of global persecution and the new documentary Under Caesar's Sword produced by RFI and the Notre Dame Center for Culture and Ethics. 

"Tens of thousands of Christians and Catholics, facing death or forced conversions, fled their homes in Iraq when the Islamic State group took control of the region. This past Advent, 25 people were murdered and many more were injured by a suicide bomber at St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. The Muslim militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria has killed thousands. These horrific stories are well-known, but many others go untold. A recent documentary, also named “Under Caesar's Sword,” explores this worldwide persecution.

Though these experiences are unfamiliar to most Americans, the documentary hopes viewers find solidarity with their fellow Christians."

We can’t subcontract concern and compassion. We can’t expect our government to do what we’re not willing to do.
— Timothy Shah

Read the full article here: New documentary shows the worldwide persecution of Christians by Zoey Maraist (@ZoeyMaraist)

Watch the trailer and learn more about the project here: Under Caesar's Sword