ADL JOINS FIGHT AGAINST RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION WORLDWIDE
New York, NY, July 2, 1997....The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised the
commitment of the Administration to combat religious persecution through the State Department
Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad which convened today in Washington.
David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL
National Director, issued the following statement.
Religious persecution around the world is a horrific problem that has
taken center stage recently with a focus on atrocities being committed
against Christians in countries like Sudan and China.
There are two key vehicles through which ADL hopes to amplify our concern
about religious persecution and make it a factor in foreign policy-making.
The State Department Advisory Committee has made useful suggestions that
would place religious freedom in a more prominent role in U.S. diplomacy.
The broad array of distinguished religious leaders that comprise the committee
make it a unique forum to help enhance our nation's diplomatic contact with
religious leaders worldwide and more comprehensively document the problem.
In Congress, Senator Specter (R-PA) and Representative Wolf (F-VA) have
introduced legislation that would sanction countries that persecute religious
groups and help ensure that individuals suffering from religious persecution
are eligible for asylum in the US. The legislation serves an important
role as a focus for developing new tools to combat religious persecution.
As with other sanctions or immigration-related bills, we need to examine
the efficacy of each provision, and how to better utilize some existing
mechanisms to ensure that the law accomplishes what it set out to do.
We welcome both initiatives and are eager to utilize our experience with
the Soviet Jewry movement to help engage American religious communities
in promoting pluralism and tolerance abroad. To that end, we are working
with Congress, the Administration, and our coalition partners to achieve
the most effective policy to alleviate the suffering of victims singled
out solely on the basis of their desire to worship.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.