The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit officially opened Tuesday in Washington, DC. The event will feature a series of discussions to raise public awareness and political strength of the international religious freedom movement.
The summit kicked off its pre-conference events on Congressional Advocacy Day, which brought together lawmakers, ambassadors and persecution survivors on Monday.
Advocates have held more than 20,000 meetings with Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill, representing a variety of faith groups.
“We’re taking advantage of the best that America has to offer… undeniable religious liberty, everywhere. We’ve seen America’s human rights divisions lead in many ways in the Senate and House in a bipartisan manner ,” Amjad Khan, co-chair of Congressional Advocacy Day, told Fox Digital.
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Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he was proud that last year Congress reauthorized the USCIRF to continue to focus on persecution around the world.
Established in 1998 under the International Religious Freedom Act, the Commission is tasked with independently assessing and responding to threats to religious freedom.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the summit’s emeritus House Congressional co-chairman, told Fox News Digital, “Pope Francis said it best when he said, ‘Religious freedom is a fundamental human right.'” Unfortunately, religious freedom is Attacks are increasing around the world. “
According to a report by the Pew Research Center, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are the three most restricted (persecuted) faiths.
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Khan said Congress could do more for religious freedom by focusing on prisoners of conscience.
“I don’t think the House of Representatives has adopted any prisoners of conscience [legislation] But in the new session. That’s not right. We have so many prisoners of conscience who are now suffering in jail for believing what they believe. People need to know their stories and share their stories because then we can be their advocates,” he added.
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More than 1,000 religious freedom advocates are expected to gather for an international religious freedom summit in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.