Posted by: becketfund | July 15, 2008

IRFA conference this Thursday

Join the Becket Fund’s international law director in the morning on a panel with the US’s first Ambassador-at-Large for international religious freedom and the ACLU’s religious freedom program director.

July 17, 2008

Congressional Human Rights Caucus

Task Force for International Religious Freedom

Invite you to a conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act

Promoting Religious Freedom in a Post-9/11 World

Dear Colleagues,

Please join the Congressional Human Rights Caucus Task Force for International Religious Freedom (TIRF) for a special conference focused on the continuous importance of promoting this critical human right throughout the world.

WHEN: Thursday, July 17, 2007, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., registration begins at 8:30 a.m., a light lunch will be served

WHERE: Members Room, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building

WHO: Remarks by Members of Congress (including Reps. Cleaver, Franks, Wolf, McIntyre, Smith, Pitts, Wamp, Aderholt, and Minority Whip Roy Blunt);

WHAT: A series of panels focused on the importance of international religious freedom in our post-9/11 world, including:

  • U.S. and International Policy Past, Present, and Future with expert witnesses former Ambassador Robert Seiple, President of the Council for America’s First Freedom who was the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; Jeremy Gunn, Director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s (ACLU) Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief; and Angela C. Wu, International Law Director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
  • Religious Freedom in America’s National Security Interest with Dr. Tom Farr, Visiting Professor at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs who formerly served as the first Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and Major Stephen Coughlin, a former contractor on Islamic law with the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.
  • Freedom of Religion – Why the World Should Care – Governments, Media, and the Public at Large with Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ); Dr. Paul Marshal, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom; Brian Grim, senior research fellow in religion and world affairs at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life; and Terry Mattingly, Director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and a weekly columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service.
  • Protecting the Religious Freedom of Refugees and Asylum Seekers with Kelly Ryan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; and Mark Hetfield, Vice President of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
  • Personal Testimony of Persecution and Asylum with Uyghur Human Rights advocate Rebiya Kadeer.

This conference will be open to public and the media, an RSVP is necessary to reserve a space given limited seating. For more information about this briefing or to RSVP, please contact Tina Ramirez with Representative Trent Franks (5-4576) or Cassandra Young with Representative Emanuel Cleaver (5-4535). For media inquiries, please contact Rachel Meyer (5-4576).

Trent Franks and Emanuel Cleaver, II

Co-Chairs, TIRF

The TIRF is a bi-partisan group with over 40 Members of Congress working together to understand and highlight issues affecting international religious freedom, and bring positive changes in countries of particular concern. Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA), Congress acknowledged the prominent role of religious freedom to the foundation of the United States and affirmed this freedom as a fundamental right of every individual which should never be arbitrarily abridged by any government. IRFA recognizes that “More than one-half of the world’s population lives under regimes that severely restrict or prohibit the freedom of their citizens to study, believe, observe, and freely practice the religious faith of their choice.”

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