By: Congressman Hill Office –
Date: February 6, 2020 –
Yesterday, Congressman French Hill (AR-02), a member of the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, hosted Rehman Chishti, MP, United Kingdom Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, for a roundtable discussion on religious freedom.
At the roundtable, Representative Mark Walker (R-NC), Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), and former Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) spoke with MP Chishti about upholding and protecting religious freedom, belief and liberty in America and around the world.
“I’ve enjoyed working with my good friend MP Chishti, along with the Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus,” said Congressman Hill. “I organized today’s roundtable to express concern about the persecution of Christians around the world and the targeted attacks against Christians in countries like Egypt and Iraq. As a nation, we must hold accountable hostile governments who persecute Christians and other religious minorities because of their faith.”
“The United Kingdom and the United States are important allies in the fight for freedom of religion or belief. We are united in fighting for people around the world, regardless of their religion or beliefs, to have the same freedoms that we enjoy,” said Rehman Chishti MP. “The need to allow people to practice and believe as they wish is fundamental to protecting our human rights, and I thank Congressman Hill for his continued leadership to promote this issue.”
“Religious freedom must be central in shaping U.S. foreign policy and priorities,” said Congressman Smith, author of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2016, which gave the State Department expanded authority to promote religious freedom as an internationally-recognized human right. “We know that millions of people of faith around the world suffer at the hands of their own governments. In our own Constitution, the Bill of Rights lists freedom of religion as the ‘first freedom’ in the First Amendment. But freedom of religion is a tenet of freedom anywhere. I thank Rep. Hill and the caucus for hosting this important roundtable.”
“The freedom of religion has been long ingrained in America’s history and identity. Without this foundational right for Americans of all religious backgrounds or affiliations, we would cease to be the shining city upon a hill,” said Congressman Walker. “I am proud of the continued fight for religious freedom in the United States, United Kingdom, and across the world.”
Rep. Hill introduced H.Res.49, which expresses support for Coptic Christians and religious liberty in Egypt. The full text of H.Res.49 can be found HERE. H.Res.49 acknowledges the importance of the United States-Egypt partnership in advancing our common interests, recognizes Egypt’s need for certain government reforms, and calls on the Egyptian government to end the culture of impunity and make examples by arresting, prosecuting, and convicting those responsible for attacks on Christians. It also calls on the government to hold those local government officials accountable who fail to enforce the law.
Rep. Frank Wolf was the author of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which strengthened U.S. advocacy on behalf of individuals persecuted in foreign countries based on their religious beliefs. In addition, the legislation authorized U.S. action in response to violations of religious freedom in foreign countries, established an Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom within the Department of State, established a Commission on International Religious Freedom, and established a Special Adviser on International Religious Freedom within the National Security Council.
Contact: Jeff Naft
Photo: From left to right: Member of Parliament Rehman Chishti, Congressman French Hill, Congressman Mark Walker, and former Congressman Frank Wolf