We Must Stand in Solidarity. We Cannot Fight Persecution Unless All Faiths Join Together Around the World

Source:               www.21wilberforce.org

Date:                     February 11, 2020

 

21Wilberforce

SPEAK FREEDOM ALERT

Feb 11, 2020

 

Dr. Randel Everett, Founder and President of 21Wilberforce. Photo credit: US Memorial Holocaust Museum

We Must Stand in Solidarity.
We Cannot Fight Persecution Unless All Faiths Join Together Around the World

The National Prayer Breakfast, a yearly event first held in 1953, is the largest gathering of religious leaders from across America and around the world held in Washington, D.C. The event, which is a series of meetings, luncheons and dinners, is always hosted by two members of Congress, one Democrat and one Republican. It attracts leaders from state capitols, large Christian faith-based NGOs and ministries, international faith leaders, parliamentarians from around the world, and more. For the first time ever, events taking place throughout the week had a theme and it was International Religious Freedom. This represented an unparalleled opportunity to engage leaders with large constituencies on fundamental human rights issues around issues based on faith, belief, or religious identities.

A program co-hosted by 21Wilberforce and the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum titled “Religious Persecution 75 Years after the Holocaust,” focused on persecution of religious minorities. Even though the Holocaust ended nearly 75 years ago, persecution continues to this day against Jews, Christians, Yazidis, Muslims, Rohingya and others. Speakers representing multiple faiths that have been targeted around the world discussed patterns of persecution and opportunities to engage on atrocity prevention.

21Wilberforce Founder and President, Dr. Randel Everett, encouraged those attending and watching online to listen, learn and speak out against persecution. “Whether you are a faith leader, a student, a business professional, a teacher, a government official or staff, an office worker... whatever your position or status, those marginalized and persecuted need you. As Americans, we have a Congress who listens, a State Department that represents our interests, and networks within our local and faith communities that can be martialed for the advancement of religious freedom. We can all do something to help stem the tide.”

Panelist Bob Fu, Founder and President of ChinaAid and a survivor of persecution, challenged all of us to stand in solidarity. “We cannot fight persecution unless all faiths join together around the world.”

International Religious Freedom Headlines

An estimated 5 million people from 26 states in Nigeria participated in a three-day fast concluding in a prayer walk. Launched on January 29 to protest the beheading of Brethren pastor Lawan Andimi, the chairman of a regional CAN chapter in Adamawa state, by Boko Haram two weeks earlier, the event drew attention to the Nigerian government’s failure to stop the abductions and killings.

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Twenty-six countries have joined with the United States to launch the International Religious Freedom Alliance. The formation of the Alliance marks the first time in history an international coalition has come together at a national leadership level to push the issue of religious freedom forward around the world.

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During our National Prayer Breakfast sideline event on religious persecution representatives from five religious groups affected by severe religious persecution identified the most pressing issues facing their communities and shared how we can help.

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What We Are Reading

Erin Rodewald, a Los Angeles-based researcher, analyst, and former Digital Editor for 21Wilberforce, writes a thoughtful blog focused on international religious freedom, civil society, community engagement, foreign policy, and American politics.

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A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew-The Faith Club. Free Press. This book about Americans searching for faith and mutual respect weaves the story of three women, their three religions, and their urgent quest to understand one another. Published in 2007, this book is still timely, deeply thoughtful, and full of hope.

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