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Press ReleaseCivil Rights
RULE
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.



 
 
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1997 Anti-Defamation League