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06/24/2022 (International Christian Concern) Nigeria – The second annual International Religious Freedom Summit will run from June 28-30 in Washington, D.C. Among the topics discussed is China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims, the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, antisemitism in Europe, and the continual attacks on Christians in Nigeria.  

The conference’s featured speakers will include U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain, former NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, an outspoken critic of Uyghur Muslim persecution, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Paivi Rasanen, a Finnish evangelical Christian and member of parliament.  

Nury Turkel, the newly appointed chair of the U.S. Committee on International Religious Freedom and an Uyghur Muslim, commented on the IRF Summit’s importance to the Washington Times and hoped that the summit would help others view religious liberty as a problem of national security. The international community has repeatedly been making a mistake — specifically policymakers and liberal democracies — to wait until the religious persecution and human rights abuses reach the level of a humanitarian crisis to act. I think that’s a wrong approach; it’s a very costly approach.” 

Turkel continued, “I hope to use this platform in my official capacity to call on the policymakers to pay attention to some of the worst human rights abuses, religious persecution, namely in Nigeria and in India that should concern us and also the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe, both [of which] have been ignored by European leaders.”  

He also expressed concerns about the use of advanced technology by more than 80 countries worldwide for the persecution of religious groups. “I think that the international community is dealing with a new type of religious persecution and genocide that has been quietly tested, developed, and now is promoted by communist China, which is the use of technology for religious persecution. Today, more than 80 countries have either already adopted or are in the process of adopting Chinese surveillance technology techniques that are a threat to civil liberty, religious liberty, even democratic norms.” 

USCIRF Commissioner Frank Wolf, a former member of Congress, stressed the importance of the IRF conference, saying, “I think we’re in a worse situation than we’ve been for a long, long time. There is less activity, and fewer and fewer people are interested in or concerned with religious freedom issues internationally.” 

ICC, which will be attending the conference, has reported extensively on Christian persecution in Nigeria, with articles documenting the St. Francis Catholic Church attack, Fulani militant attacks, and abductions of priests around the country.  

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