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Religious leaders urge Senate to swiftly confirm Mr. Rashad Hussain as Ambassador for International Religious Freedom

Mr. Rashad Hussain, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom nominee

Religious persecution on the rise worldwide

Far too many people around the world continue to face arrest, torture, discrimination, and even death on account of their beliefs”
— Rashad Hussain, Ambassador-at-Large for IRF nominee

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, November 3, 2021 / -- On the eve of International Religious Freedom Day, October 27, 2021, Mr. Rashad Hussain testified before the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee along with four other ambassadorial nominees stating that “Far too many people around the world continue to face arrest, torture, discrimination, and even death on account of their beliefs.”

Mr. Hussain was nominated by President Biden for the US State Department’s position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom on July 30, 2021. It is now up to the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee to swiftly confirm Mr. Hussain to officially step into this position.

The position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom was created to promote universal respect for freedom of religion or belief for all as a core objective of US foreign policy. The International Religious Freedom office in the State Department monitors religiously motivated abuses, harassment, and discrimination worldwide, and recommends, develops, and implements policies and programs to address these concerns.

In a multi-faith letter written to the chairs of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and James Risch (R-ID), over 60 human rights and religious freedom leaders urged them to “swiftly move this nomination to the Senate floor and confirm Mr. Rashad Hussain…the appointment of the new IRF Ambassador will reaffirm the importance of this fundamental human right and assure persecuted communities that America continues to stand for their freedoms.”

Persecution of faith communities around the world including the Falun Gong, Christians, Muslims, Uyghurs and others in China, India, Africa, Indonesia, and Afghanistan, to name a few are at an all-time high as government restrictions increase or turn a deaf ear to the oppressed. The severity of restrictions and persecutions including torture, murder, denial of existence, detentions, arrests, disappearances and genocide are continually reported by the US State Department, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and human rights and religious freedom organizations.

The letter to the US Senate Committee chairs, signed by over 60 participants of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable, included human rights and religious freedom leaders from a wide spectrum including Christians, Muslims, Jews, Scientologists, China Aid Association, Baptist World Alliance, International Christian Concern, Campaign for Uyghurs and several foreign human rights and religious freedom organizations.

Mr. Hussain has been called undeniably and impeccably qualified for his new position. He has served under the past three administrations. Currently serving as Director for Partnerships and Global Engagement at the National Security Council, he previously served as Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, US Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), US Special Envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and Deputy Associate White House Counsel. He has also taught as Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law Center and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

In his hearing address, Mr. Hussain stated that “a staggering eighty percent of people worldwide live in environments with high or severe restrictions on religious freedom…Their faiths may be different, but they share a common experience of persecution. I am committed to fighting, day in and day out, for their rights…Religious Freedom is enshrined in our First Amendment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it is a core American value and human right.”

The International Religious Freedom Roundtable, a multi-faith nonpartisan group of participants formed in 2010, is dedicated to overcoming discrimination and persecution of those of faith or no faith in alignment with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by reversing the rising tide of restrictions on religious freedom that has been escalating across the globe.

The Church of Scientology joined dozens of other religious groups in urging the rapid confirmation of Mr. Hussain to hold this vital position at the Department of State.

Rev. Susan Taylor
National Affairs Office
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