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  • Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia, MDiv.

Multifaith Campaign Co-Chair Calls for Religious Freedom at IRF Summit

Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia, MDiv, International Religious Freedom Roundtable Campaign to Eliminate Blasphemy and Apostasy Laws Calls for Religious Freedom during Civil Society Congress at IRF Summit 2022




United Nations member countries were encouraged to sign on to a charter drafted by the International Religious Freedom Roundtable Campaign to Eliminate Blasphemy and Apostasy Laws. Co-chairs of the committee are beginning with the most egregious penalty for such laws and calling on the twelve nations currently imposing the death penalty for blasphemy and apostasy to immediately repeal the penalty.

"We believe protecting religious freedom equally for all persons, and for all their representative religious communities is critical to the flourishing of individuals, their faith and their nations," said Dr. Christine M. Sequenzia, MDiv.

religious freedom equally for all persons, and for all their respective religious

communities is critical to individual human flourishing, the flourishing of faith and the

flourishing of nations, in the way it builds resilient pluralistic communities affording all

the human right to be known and exist peacefully in authentic relationship.

religious freedom equally for all persons, and for all their respective religious

communities is critical to individual human flourishing, the flourishing of faith and the

flourishing of nations, in the way it builds resilient pluralistic communities affording all

the human right to be known and exist peacefully in authentic relationship.

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Civil Society Statement | IRF Summit 2022


IRF Summit 2022 Civil Society Congress Report v4[59]
.pdf
Download PDF • 3.24MB

On behalf of the members of the International Religious Freedom Committee to

Eliminate Blasphemy and Apostacy laws, I would like to thank you all for your deep

commitment to the freedom of religion or belief for all of humankind, including for the

members of persecuted minority religious communities around the world.


I am Dr. Christine Sequenzia, policy director of the National Association of Evangelicals

and co-chair of the IRF committee to eliminate apostacy and blasphemy laws, along

with Hulda Fahmi of the Jubilee Campaign and Mauritanian prisoner of conscious

survivor, Cheick Mkhaitir. The IRF Charter affirms the right of freedom of religion and

conscience for every person by virtue of his or her humanity, reflected in the core of his

or her dignity and personhood. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

reiterates this self-evident truth and we gather here today to denounce denial of

religious freedom to any person as denying this right also denies their God-given right

to live a fully human life and to flourish as a human being. We believe protecting

religious freedom equally for all persons, and for all their respective religious

communities is critical to individual human flourishing, the flourishing of faith and the

flourishing of nations, in the way it builds resilient pluralistic communities affording all

the human right to be known and exist peacefully in authentic relationship.


Specifically, our committee addresses apostasy, leaving a religion or belief, and

blasphemy, the insult of religion or religions objects or places and hate speech laws,

which are increasingly being applied synonymously with blasphemy laws. As stated by

US State Dept Ambassador at Large Rashad Hussain, “such laws limit individuals’ right

to express and practice their faith and empower extremists to take the law into their

own hands and employ violence extrajudicially.” Addressing nations where apostasy is

punishable by death, namely: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Nigeria, Mauritania,

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen and where it is a criminal offense in an additional

nine is of critical importance. Currently, blasphemy is punishable in 83 countries, and

the death penalty may be applied in seven of those, including: Afghanistan, Iran,

Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Saudi Arabia.


The Committee continues to address these concerns through three channels:

1. Raising awareness through educational opportunities

2. Endorsing legislative efforts like H. Res 512 and S. Res 458 which passed

overwhelmingly during the 116 th Congress, with the help of Chairman Jamie Raskin

and Senator James Lankford. The bill made the repeal of blasphemy and apostasy laws

a priority in bilateral relationships including the designation as a country of particular

concern and called on governments to release those imprisoned pursuant to such

laws.

3. The committee also calls for the support of two upcoming United Nations General

Assembly resolutions on extrajudicial executions and the moratorium on the death

penalty. As an urgent action step, we ask you and your organization to endorse the

committee’s UNGA charter toward this end.


We have created an easy-to-use text to sign option that should take less than one

minute to complete.


Simply text IRF to 855.549.0168, that is IRF to 855.549.0168.


Personally, it is my faith that compels me to recognize all people as made in the image

of God and toward loving my neighbor by standing united with people of all faiths in

the promotion of freedom of religion that builds resilient pluralistic communities. In his

own words, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me ...He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and ...to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)


On behalf of the IRF committee to eliminate apostasy and blasphemy laws, I urge you

to utilize your voice to PROCLAIM LIBERTY TODAY by texting IRF to 855.549.0168


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