Tehmina Arora - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Tehmina Arora is a lawyer practicing in the area of constitutional law and human rights with a special emphasis on minority rights and religious freedom. Based in New Delhi, India, Arora also serves as legal consultant for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International. She is also the General Secretary of the Christian Legal Association in India. She has written over 30 articles on human rights-related issues and has published in leading national daily newspapers and magazines. Ms. Ahora is frequently called upon to address groups at seminars across the country on the rights of religious minorities in India. She has worked briefly at the Supreme Court of India before joining the Christian Legal Association.
Yaqoob Khan Bangash - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Yaqoob Khan Bangash is a historian of Modern South Asia. His current research interests lie in the emergence of Pakistan as post-colonial state, with broader interests in decolonisation, modern state formation, formation of identities, and the emergence of ethnic and identity based conflicts. His D. Phil thesis was on the accession and integration of the princely states in Pakistan which has been published from Oxford University Press as ‘A Princely Affair: Accession and Integration of Princely States in Pakistan, 1947-55’ in 2015. He is currently working on a monograph on the imagination of Pakistan as a country after its creation, using the debates of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (1947—56) as the basic primary material. He has published in South Asia Research and the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, and has written articles for two edited volumes. Dr. Bangash completed his BA from the University of Notre Dame, IN, USA, and his D. Phil from the University of Oxford. Currently, Dr. Bangash is head of Humanities and Director at the Centre for Governance and Policy at the Information Technology University, Lahore, Pakistan.
Chad Bauman - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Chad M. Bauman is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics at Butler University. His earliest research focused on the interaction of low-caste Christians and Hindus in colonial India, and culminated in a book, Christian Identity and Dalit Religion in Hindu India, 1868-1947, which won the prize for Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies, 2006-2008, from the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies. His most recent book is Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Andrew Bennett - Senior Fellow, International Religious Freedom Policy and North American Action Teams
The Rev. Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett is a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic deacon of the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Fr. Deacon Andrew also serves as Senior Fellow at Cardus, Canada’s faith-based think-tank, where he is Programme Director of Cardus Law which looks at the role of law in society with a particular focus on religious freedom in Canada. Fr. Deacon Andrew previously served in the Canadian foreign service as Canada's first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 during which time he led in defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada's principled foreign policy. He remains a regular and active commentator on religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Fr. Deacon Andrew’s ambassadorial appointment was the culmination of a 14-year career in the Canadian civil service. He holds a B.A. Hons. in History (Dalhousie), an M.A. in History (McGill), and a Ph.D. in Politics (Edinburgh).
Robert Hefner - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Robert Hefner is a professor of Anthropology and director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University. At CURA, he has directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary educational programs on religion and world affairs; and is currently involved in research projects comparing Muslim, Christian, and secularist approaches to citizenship, plurality, and modernity. Hefner has conducted research on Muslim culture, politics, and education since the mid-1980s, and on comparative sociology and anthropology of world religions for the past 30 years. He has directed some 19 major research projects, and organized 18 international conferences. From 2009 to 2010, Hefner served as the elected president of the Association for Asian Studies, the largest professional association for Asian studies in the world. From 2008 to 2009, he was invited by Stanford University and the National University of Singapore to be the first Lee Kong Chian Fellow in Southeast Asian Studies. Hefner has conducted research on persecuted Christian communities in Indonesia.
TIMOTHY HALL - sENIOR fELLOW, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EDUCATION
Timothy Hall, Ph.D. is Director of Operations and Academics of Thales Academy which is one of the largest private school management organizations in North Carolina. He is the author of several textbook supplements, curriculums, standards, and several popular history texts including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World History” (Penguin, 2nd edn 2012) and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Middle Ages” (Penguin, 2009). He was the course administrator of the MOOC on Kierkegaard at Coursera entitled “Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity.” Some of his recent research focuses on the philosophy of Kierkegaard and non‐cognitive education which was published in a shorter form in Wiley-Blackwell’s Companion to Kierkegaard and religious literacy and diversity in education which is in development.
Farahnaz Ispahani - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Farahnaz Ispahani is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC and the author of the book Purifying The Land of The Pure: The History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities (Oxford University Press, 2017). In 2015, she was a Reagan-Fascell Scholar at the National Endowment for Democracy, in Washington, DC. Ispahani was a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center from 2013-2014. A Pakistani politician, Ispahani served as a Member of Parliament and Media Advisor to the President of Pakistan from 2008-2012. In Parliament she focused on the issues of terrorism, human rights, gender based violence, minority rights and US-Pakistan relations. She was also a member of the Women’s caucus in the 13th National Assembly. The caucus, which straddled political divides, was instrumental in introducing more legislation on women’s issues than has ever been done before during a single parliamentary term. Ms. Ispahani spent the formative years of her career as a print and television journalist. Her last journalistic position was as Executive Producer and Managing Editor of Voice of America's Urdu TV. She has also worked at ABC News, CNN and MSNBC.
Andrew Kubick - Research Fellow, North America Action Team
Andrew Kubick is a Ph.D. candidate in Bioethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. Aside from his work at RFI, Andrew is a teacher in the Bioethics and Religion Departments at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School and Research Associate under Fr. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, O.P., Ph.D., S.T.D. at Providence College. His writings have appeared in the National Catholic Bioethics Center's Ethics & Medics and Quarterly journal as well as Holy Apostles College & Seminary's Saint John Paul II Journal of Bioethics. He has presented scholarly work at the annual conferences of the Catholic Medical Association, Catholic Social Workers National Association, and the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity.
Paul Marshall - Senior fellow, south and southeast asia action team
Paul Marshall is Wilson Professor of Religious Freedom at Baylor University, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, Senior Fellow at the Leimena Institute, Jakarta. He is the author and editor of more than twenty books on religion and politics, especially religious freedom, including recently Persecuted (Thomas Nelson, 2013), Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide (Oxford University Press, 2011), Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion (Oxford University Press, 2009), Religious Freedom in the World (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008). He is the author of several hundred articles, and his writings have been translated into more than twenty languages. He is in frequent demand for lectures and media appearances. Marshall holds a B.Sc. (University of Manchester), M.Sc. (University of Western Ontario), M.Phil. (Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto), M.A. and Ph.D. (York University, Toronto) with further studies in human rights at the University of Strasbourg, and theology and jurisprudence at Oxford.
Daniel Philpott - Senior Associate Scholar, Religious Freedom Institute
Daniel Philpott is a professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. Philpott specializes in the relationship between religion and politics and Catholicism’s contributions to freedom and democracy. He has also participated in faith-inspired reconciliation efforts in some of the world’s worst conflict zones, including Kashmir and the Great Lakes region of Africa. Philpott is the author or editor of several books, including Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation (2012); God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics (2011, co-authored with Monica Toft and Timothy Shah); Strategies of Peace: Transforming Conflict in a Violent Word (2010, edited with Gerard F. Powers). He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Benedict Rogers - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Benedict Rogers is a human rights activist and writer. As East Asia Team Leader at the international human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), he specializes in Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea and China. He has also worked on East Timor, Pakistan, The Maldives and Sri Lanka in the past. In addition to serving as a Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute, he is an Associate of Oxford House, a member of the advisory board of the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, a Trustee of several charities including the Phan Foundation and the Chin Human Rights Organization, and serves as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, which he co-founded in 2005 with Gary Streeter MP, and recently organized their inquiry on China and authored their new report, The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016, launched in June 2016. He is the author of six books, including Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads (Random House, 2012) and The Very Stones Cry Out: The Persecuted Church – Pain, Passion and Praise (co-authored with Baroness Cox, Continuum, 2011).
Nilay Saiya - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Nilay Saiya is an assistant professor of political science and Director of International Studies at the State University of New York, Brockport. His research concerns religion and global politics, international security, and American foreign policy. His scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in several academic journals including Conflict Management and Peace Science, International Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Computer Review, and Terrorism and Political Violence. Nilay is currently working on a project examining the relationship between religious repression and terrorism. In 2016, he directed the State University of New York’s Muslim Voices Project—an initiative aimed at opening up dialogue between Muslim intellectuals and activists and the community at large. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 2013.
William Saunders - Senior Fellow, international religious freedom policy action team
William Saunders is Law Fellow and Director of the program in human rights of the Institute for Human Ecology, and Co-Director of the center for Religious Liberty at the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America. His expertise centers on issues of religious liberty, human rights, life, and bioethics. He is Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life and Chairman for Religious Liberty at the Federalist Society. A member of the bar of the Supreme Court and Federal Bar of the D.C. circuit, he has authored numerous legal briefs in state, federal, foreign, and international courts. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of North Carolina.
Eugene Yapp - Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Eugene Yapp is the Director of RFL Partnership, an organization for the promotion of religious freedom for all people in Malaysia. He is also a board member of the coalition of civil society organizations called Plan of Action for Malaysia and an Exco member of Kairos Dialogue Network. A lawyer by training, he is a scholar and advocate for religious freedom and is the author of numerous articles and reports on religious liberty issues in Malaysia in particular. He previously served as the Secretary-General of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (the Evangelical Alliance of Malaysia) and prior to that was the Executive Secretary, Research and Religious Liberty Commission, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship. He is a former advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya and a graduate from the University of London and holds a master degree from the Malaysia Bible Seminary.
yamini Ravindran - Fellow, South and Southeast Asia Action Team
Yamini Ravindran is an Attorney-at-Law with an L.LB from the University of London, and is currently working on an MA in Human Rights. She is the Director of the Legal and Advocacy for the Religious Liberty Commission at the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL). Ravindran also serves as the Director for the Asia Evangelical Alliance (AEA), Religious Liberty Commission, which is a regional network monitoring the religious liberty situation in 17 countries. In her AEA role, she trains and equips vulnerable communities in restricted countries and advocates for greater freedoms for religious minorities in Asia. Yamini also conducts training with the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, teaching human rights and religious freedom advocacy to persecuted communities in restricted countries across Asia.
Kareem P.A. McDonald - research Fellow, Islam and religious freedom action team
Kareem P.A. McDonald holds an MA in Advanced Migration Studies, an LL.M in International Human Rights Law, an M.Phil in Modern History, and a BA in Modern History and Political Science obtained through studies in the UK, Ireland and Denmark. He previously served as a Program Associate at the RFI’s Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team and at the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom. He has also worked for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Consortium and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
His research interests focus on the intersections between migration and religion, and specifically but not limited to, the nexus between migration and freedom of religion. He is also interested in: refugee and migration law in a European and global context, human rights literacy and education, and the relationship between Islam and religious freedom.
He is a member of the European Academy of Religion and recently presented scholarly work at the Academy’s annual conference in Bologna, Italy. He has also delivered papers at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia, at the RFI’s offices in Washington DC, and lectured on Islam and human rights at the Law Faculty of George Mason University in Virginia.
He recently completed a course about the history of religious freedom in America at the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center and is currently enrolled on a FORB Trainers Course, a course designed for people who want to train others in FORB, organized by the Nordic Ecumenical Network on Freedom of Religion or Belief (NORFORB). He is also preparing aspects of his recent research on religious freedom and Danish asylum centers for publication in several academic journals.