Date:                            November 2, 2023


U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 

USCIRF Conversation: Religious Freedom in the Sahel Region of Africa

Thursday, November 9, 2023
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Virtual Event

Register Here

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will host a virtual event evaluating the status of religious freedom in the Sahel region of Africa, including Mali, Niger, and Sudan.

The Sahel region of Africa is experiencing a general deterioration in freedom of religion or belief. The conditions for religious communities are highly unlikely to improve due to the presence of violent insurgent Islamist groups, an ongoing ethnic and religious conflict, weak states, and the continual political intervention of the military. Since 2017, the activities of the Russian-backed Wagner Group have further complicated the political system at the national, state, and local level within Sudan as well as in Mali and now Niger. This conversation will examine the complex and constantly changing security context in the Sahel and consider recommendations to the U.S. government on ensuring freedom of religion or belief in the region.

USCIRF Vice Chair Frederick A. Davie and Commissioner Frank Wolf will join guest panelists Katherine ZimmermanDr. Aaron Zelin, and Dr. Eric Patterson to discuss the regression of freedom of religious or belief in recent years. USCIRF Policy Analyst Michael Ardovino will moderate the conversation, which will include questions from the audience.


  • Frederick A. Davie¸ Vice Chair, USCIRF
  • Frank Wolf, Commissioner, USCIRF
  • Katherine Zimmerman, Fellow at American Enterprise Institute
  • Dr. Aaron Zelin, Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Director of the Islamic State Worldwide Activity Map Project
  • Dr. Eric Patterson, President of the Religious Freedom Institute


  • Michael Ardovino, Policy Analyst, USCIRF

This virtual event is open to the public and media. The video recording will be posted on the Commission website. For any additional questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..