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Nobel nominee works to preserve religious freedom around world

BY ELIZABETH PIET

Religous Freedom (Times Tribune) – It may be 2007, but murder and torture because of religion still exist in the world, Joseph K. Grie-boski told a group of Valley View High School students on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Scott Township native knows the harsh reality – as the president and founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Religion and Public Policy, he has traveled to countries where Christian children are cut and burned to mark them as slaves.
“We’re not talking about 200 years ago,” he said. “We’re talking about now in the middle of Sudan there are still enslaved people.”
As a result of the international efforts, Mr. Grieboski’s institute has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The winner will be announced Friday morning, and Mr. Grie- boski came back to Northeastern Pennsylvania to wait with his wife, Sarah, and mother, Pat, who lives in Peckville.
“There’s no better place to be than home for the announcement,” he said.
The nominees include former Vice President Al Gore, for his efforts with global climate change; and Irene Sendler, of Poland , who saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto in World War II. Mr. Grie-boski founded his organization in 1999 on the idea that freedom of religion is the foundation for other freedoms to exist.
“I really have no expectation to win,” Mr. Grieboski said.
While in the Valley View auditorium, Mr. Grieboski discussed genocide, politics and terrorism and his work with world leaders to recognize international laws on religion. He highlighted travels to Sudan , China , Kosovo, including threats on his life.
“For me, that’s motivation,” he said. “We’re defending the inherent human rights.
Then it’s back to Washington , D.C. , to continue the work Mr. Grieboski feels is so crucial.
“If we don’t uphold religious freedom, we lose it,” he told students.