Religious Liberty Around the World: Where We Stand as of Spring 2016
April 6, 2016 12:00 ET

While many are aware of ISIS’ barbaric practices and the ongoing violation of minority groups’ religious liberties in Iraq and Syria, the future of religious liberty also hangs in the balance in many other parts of the world. Religious believers around the world experience violence, repression, and exile of various forms and degrees. This persecution may be supported by law and/or driven by culture, but it is never acceptable. It deserves our attention and America’s action.

FRC will be hosting some of the leading experts on religious liberty to discuss the state of religious freedom, and what can be done about it, in key regions around the world. Former Congressman Frank Wolf will discuss the situation in Nigeria, Tina Ramirez will comment on Iraq and religious freedom efforts there, Pervez Rafique will review the status of religious liberty in Pakistan, and Tom Farr will focus on those being persecuted by ISIS and discuss concrete action steps that can be taken to stop that group’s atrocities. Please join us for this informative panel and learn how you can play a part in defending religious liberty around the world.

Former Congressman Frank Wolf is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, an organization working to advance the human right of religious freedom around the world through advocacy, capacity building, and technical innovations. He was elected to Congress in 1981 and served Virginia’s 10th District for 17 terms, during which time he was a stalwart defender of religious freedom for all around the world. Congressman Wolf authored the International Religious Freedom Act and legislation to create a U.S. State Department special envoy to advocate for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. The founder and co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Congressman Wolf’s honors include the 2015 Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor University, the Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview’s William Wilberforce Award.

Dr. Thomas Farr is the Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the nation's only university-based program devoted exclusively to the study of religious freedom around the world. In 1999 Dr. Farr became the first director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom. He formerly served in both the U.S. Army and the American Foreign Service, and taught history at the U.S. Military Academy and international relations at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dr. Farr was also a State Department advisor during US-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva, was a member of the Secretary of State’s working group on International Religious Freedom, Democracy, and Stability, and teaches regularly at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C. He is a contributing editor for the Review of Faith and International Affairs and has published widely on religious freedom and its implications in scholarly and popular outlets. Dr. Farr received his Ph.D. in modern British and European history from the University of North Carolina.

Tina Ramirez is the Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired Global, an organization focused on training and promoting religious freedom around the world. Ramirez has served as a policy researcher at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and as a foreign policy advisor for various members of the U.S. Congress, where she helped found and direct the bi-partisan Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus. Most recently she directed international programs at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. During her work, Ramirez has helped secure the release of imprisoned victims, testified before the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and the African Union, and trained advocates and religious leaders in Iraq, Sudan, and Turkey in their religious freedom rights. In 2012, she was awarded the Second Annual Ahmadiyya Muslim Humanitarian Award for her congressional work defending their community worldwide. Ramirez holds a B.A. in History and Political Science and a M.A. in Education from Vanguard University in California, along with a M.A. in Human Rights from the University of Essex in the U.K.

Pervez Rafique is the President of Bleeding for Belief, an organization working to stop religious persecution in Pakistan. A human rights activist and former Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, Rafique worked alongside Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian Minorities Minister who was assassinated in 2011, as a chief coordinator for the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. He served as a Member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly from 2002 to 2007, and returned to the Punjab Assembly in the general election of 2008 to serve until 2013 in one of the seats reserved for non-Muslim minorities. He has served as a member of the Central Executive Committee, All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, as an Executive Member of the Member of Church Organizations, and as President of the Pakistan Chapter of Pakistan American People Forum.


A light lunch will be served.

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