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Over one-thousand religious freedom advocates met, Tuesday in Washington D.C. for the start of the International Religious Freedom Summit. The event aims to shine a spotlight on the global religious freedom movement by highlighting religious persecution around the world.
The event kicked off its pre-summit activities with a Congressional advocacy day bringing together lawmakers, ambassadors, and survivors of persecution.
Amjad Khan who serves as co-chair for the summit’s Congressional advocacy day told Fox News Digital, “We have people who don’t agree politically on anything, but they agree on this.”
The IRF Summit will host speeches from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL.
“We’re bringing a common message to join us to fight for religious freedom for everyone, everywhere” added Khan.
According to a Pew Research Center report, Christianity followed by Islam and Judaism are the three most restricted (persecuted) religions.
The summit will host regional discussions providing a global survey of the state of religious freedom, from the perspective of survivors and faith leaders, focusing on regions that include the Middle East, South, and Central Asia.
Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Christians and other religious minorities live in fear for their lives. A recent survey by the faith advocacy group, Open Doors USA, placed Afghanistan as the most dangerous place in the world to live as a Christian.
“They’re very few things on Capitol Hill where people can come together protecting prisoners of conscience, speaking against religious oppression, focusing on real lives that are being affected by the genocide…” Khan added.
Rep. French Hill, R-AR told Fox News Digital “religious freedom, both in our country as well as around the world, has been a real point of bipartisanship.”
He says the variety of speakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo illustrates the “U.S. bipartisan leadership role in maximizing every person’s individual right, natural right to religious tolerance of their faith or belief.”
The Arkansas Republican has been a strong advocate of religious freedom both globally and also in the U.S. where he has been working to lift government restrictions on church services, a problem that rose during the height of the Covid epidemic.
“We all know the importance of the First Amendment, that it’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, which I think is always a great way to describe it here in our country” he said.
The summit is co-Chaired by Sam Brownback, who served as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom under President Trump, and Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
“We go beyond simply walking with like-minded people and sharing our joint passion for this cause and really bring it to the desks and to the doorsteps, and hopefully into the hearts and minds,” said Lantos Swett.