Hudson Institute's round-table discussion on "Persecuted Christians and Other Religious Minorities in the New Middle East: Formulating an Effective U.S. Policy Response," described by Mark Tooley, was opened with a keynote address by Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the Catholic Archbishop of Vienna and editor of the Catholic Catechism. Two other opening talks followed, one by Dr. Habib Malik associate professor of history and culture with the Lebanese American University in Beirut and the other by Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. These three talks can be viewed here.
At the session, 60 policy- and opinion-makers, church leaders from a variety of faith traditions, scholars, religious-freedom advocates, and representatives of the Iraqi and Egyptian Christian communities as well as the Ahmadiyya Muslim and Baha's minorities also engaged in two hours of debate and strategizing that was off the record. We will be taking some of the session's best ideas on how America can use its influence to protect Christian and other religious minorities in the new Middle East to President Obama and Governor Romney with the plea that they take up the issue in their campaigns. The survival of Christians and other defenseless religious minorities in the region will stand a better chance if the United States makes religious freedom a foreign-policy priority.