ADL Welcomes International Religious Freedom Act
New York, NY, June 17, 1998 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the
introduction of the International Religious Freedom Act (S.1868) being considered
in hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. The Act would create a
framework to promote religious freedom internationally and sanction nations engaging in
brutal forms of religious persecution. The comprehensive system of reporting and training
of U.S. personnel complements a similar House-passed measure sponsored by Frank Wolf
In a letter to the bill's lead sponsors Sens. Don Nickles (R-OK) and Joseph
Lieberman (D-CT), Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL National Chairman and Abraham H. Foxman,
ADL National Director, said the Act would "strengthen our nations hand against
oppression and lend hope to millions of religious believers."
As the Foreign Relations Committee markup of the bill approaches, the League is working
with sponsors on refinements that would further enhance its effectiveness. In light of
concern that the measure might sanction an overly broad group of nations, the League
recommended that the bill clearly distinguish between the broad standard by which the U.S.
should monitor and engage in diplomatic efforts to promote religious freedom and the
standard used to target sanctions against the most oppressive regimes.
Messrs. Berkowitz and Foxman noted, "As a community that has experienced horrific
persecution, we have seen first hand the consequences of silence and inaction and have
benefited from America's engagement and moral leadership."
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.