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(Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Needed Now More Than Ever: The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 December 10 Event

On December 10, Hudson Institute’s Working Group on Christians and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East hosted a discussion on the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). Two decades after its passage, IRFA and the concerns of the broad, faith-based mobilization behind it are no less salient. Keynote remarks were provided by former U.S. Representative and primary sponsor of the IRFA, Frank Wolf, and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback. Keynote remarks were followed by two panels of experts, including current and former members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, who discussed IRFA and current religious persecution challenges in the Middle East. Also, at this event, 21 Wilberforce’s new publication, 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective, was released.

In 1998, IRFA formalized religious freedom as a major tenet of American foreign policy for the first time in U.S. history. Two decades later, the persecution of faith in China, Iraq, Syria, and other countries remains a critical issue being addressed by IRFA, government agencies and a broad coalition of faith-based organizations. This statute institutionalized religious freedom as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy. The speakers will address how this is making a difference in addressing challenges today.

Speakers

Samuel Brownback Speaker

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom

Frank R. Wolf Speaker

Former U.S. Representative (R-VA) and primary sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

Thomas L. Gallagher Speaker

President and CEO, Religion News Foundation

Nina Shea Speaker

Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Religious Freedom; Hudson Institute and Co-Chair, Working Group on Christians and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East

Kristina Arriaga Speaker

Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Paul Marshall Speaker

Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Institute for the Study of Religion, Baylor University

Hillel Fradkin Speaker

Senior Fellow and Director, Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, Hudson Institute and founder and co-editor of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology

Elizabeth Prodromou Speaker

Co-chair, Working Group on Christians & Religious Pluralism in the Middle East, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute

Erin Rodewald Speaker

Co-author, 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective

Lou Ann Sabatier Speaker

Co-Author, 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective

Katrina Lantos Swett Speaker

President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice

Hudson Experts

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