The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has called on the United States government to include religious minority communities facing severe risk in evacuations to escape persecution from the Taliban. “While the United States government is working around the clock to evacuate American citizens and Afghans with U.S. affiliations, Afghan religious minorities face extreme risk from the Taliban and must be part of this urgent effort,” said USCIRF Commissioner Frederick A. Davie.
Knox Thames, who served as the State Department Special Advisor for Religious Minorities under both the Obama and Trump administrations, recently wrote, “Minorities such as Hazara Shia, Sikhs, and Hindus can expect violence and harsh restrictions. Underground Christians, Baha’is and atheists are fearful for their lives.”
Nina Shea writes in the Epoch Times, “President Biden Must Oppose the Taliban’s Current and Future Crackdown on Human Rights.”
Farahnaz Ispahani, a public policy scholar at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a senior fellow for South and Southeast Asia at the Religious Freedom Institute and a former member of the Pakistani Parliament, writes about the vulnerability of women and religious minorities in The Hill.
Christianity Today posted an insightful article on how Christians inside and outside the United States are trying to apply their faith on how to best advocate for justice in the aftermath.
Protest in Cuba Impacts Religious Freedom
Image courtesy of Jatniel Perez. Detained Baptist pastors Yarian Sierra Madrigal and Yeremi Blanco Rodriguez.
According to Reuter’s news service, Cuba’s churches have defended those who participated in unprecedented protests and even set up a hotline to advise the families of detainees, a sign of increasing boldness from spiritual leaders on the Communist-run island. Cuba’s government has long been responsible for violating its citizens right to freedom of religion or belief. In its 2021 Annual Report, USCIRF recommended that the State Department again place Cuba on its Special Watch List for engaging in severe religious freedom violations and has been doing so for many years.
USCIRF Supervisory Policy Analyst Kirsten Lavery recently recorded a podcast to discuss the historic and unprecedented protests in Cuba, how these protests have impacted religious communities in particular, and opportunities for the United States to support religious freedom on the island.
Learn more by reading USCIRF’s 2021Annual Report Cuba chapter which is available in both English and Spanish.
Transformational Leadership Conference
First Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida recently served as a host site for a dynamic two-day Transformational Leadership Conference presented by Dr. Randel Everett, founder, and President of 21Wilberforce. Local leaders from ministries, non-profit organizations, and business gathered to engage on how to lead courageously in these challenging times. Topics covered included how to seek excellence and take risks and how to advocate for justice as a mission. Participants received a copy of Dr. Everett’s recent book, Speak Freedom: Developing Emergent Leaders in the Struggle for Justice, published by BaptistWay Press.
FoRB Global Action Summit 2021
The free online Summit is designed for university and graduate-level students and young professionals with demonstrated commitment to leadership and human rights. A pre-summit online prep course and virtual summit offers participants the opportunity to hear from persecuted communities and IRF advocates, then work collaboratively in teams to craft a real-life advocacy campaign for a religious prisoner of conscience. Major topics to be covered include Exploring the Foundations of , Influencing the Oppressors, Building Your Campaign Toolkit, and Prisoner of Conscience Advocacy models.
Apply online by October 8th. The three-week pre-summit online course meets weekly from October 11 through November 1st and the virtual Summit will meet November 5-7th.
OTHER HELPFUL LINKS
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum created The Eyewitness to History video library for audiences to hear firsthand testimony from Holocaust survivors. They encourage incorporating survivor voices into Holocaust remembrance events as well as learning opportunities. Access the library here.
Send Relief is strategically working with World Relief and trusted global ministry partners to minister to Afghan refugee families around the world. As refugees flee persecution and resettle in communities around the globe, Send Relief can connect you and your church with opportunities to give, pray and volunteer to support their response. Learn more here.