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).
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.
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.
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, United States Action Team
William L. Saunders, Jr. is a Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute. His expertise centers on issues of religious liberty, life, and bioethics. He is Of Counsel with Americans United for Life, Chairman of the Religious Liberties Practice Group of the Federalist Society, and Visiting Scholar with the Leo Initiative at Catholic University. 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 of the University of North Carolina.