Tag Archives: International Religious Freedom
Rohingya muslims CNN

Plight of Rohingya Muslims Continues

The persecution and plight of the Rohingya Muslims is nothing new. In fact, the United Nations has identified them as “one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.” The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority living in northern Rakhine State in western Burma. For decades, they have faced severe persecution and violence at the hands of the government. Read more…

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Magna Carta signing

Magna Carta: A Great Legacy?

June 15, 1215 is one of the most well-known days in Western history. 800 years ago today, in Runnymede, England, King John signed Magna Carta (the Great Charter), a nascent constitution/bill of rights for English nobility. Magna Carta maintains an almost legendary role in history, although only three of its many provisions are currently in use in English law today, and it has been changed and reissued numerous times since 1215. Read more…

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Rohingya muslims CNN

Plight of Rohingya Muslims is Call to Action to End Religious Persecution

Today, a senior U.S. official called for Burma to give citizenship to Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing persecution in their historic homeland. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority living in northern Rakhine State in western Burma. For decades, they have faced severe persecution and violence at the hands of the government. Burma’s 1982 Citizenship Law denies the roughly 1.33 million Rohingya citizenship, in spite of the fact that Rohingya have lived in Burma for generations. In fact, Burmese President Thein Sein outright denies the existence of the Rohingya as an ethnic group of Burma, calling them “Bengali” instead. Read more…

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Rohingya muslims CNN

Faith Leaders Urge Action on Humanitarian Crisis Facing Rohingya Community

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center, today joined with a diverse group of faith leaders calling on President Obama to take immediate action to address the Rohingan humanitarian crisis in Southeast Asia. The well-documented persecution of the Rohingya minority community in western Burma and the resulting refugee crisis in the region is deeply concerning to us as a people who throughout history have been victims of ethnic and religious persecution and the experience of being forced to flee even as other nations closed their doors. The letter sent today by Rabbi Pesner and others calls for the U.S. government to address the root cause of this crisis and assist with the rescue of refugees. Read more…

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Bangladesh

Free Speech and Freedom of Religion Belong Hand in Hand

The First Amendment ensures fundamental freedoms: freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly. Because they are listed out separately, we sometimes might fall into the problem of forgetting how closely linked and overlapping these freedoms are. Freedom of speech and religion also means freedom of speech about religion, even offensive, hateful speech. Yet, in many parts of the world where the dream of religious freedom is not a true reality, open discussion of religion is not tolerated. Read more…

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A Greek Orthodox priest talks to Israeli policewoman outside a seminary in Jerusalem.

IRAC and the URJ Stand Together Against Hateful Attacks in Israel

The Israel Religious Action Center has long brought our attention to the long, hard work that needs to be done to rid our Jewish homeland from violence, hate and discrimination. Unfortunately, IRAC was forced to remind us last week of just how much work there is to do. On Wednesday and Thursday, two religious buildings were torched, first a mosque in the West Bank town of K’fir Jab’a, then a Greek Orthodox Seminary in Jerusalem. Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of IRAC, discussed this in the IRAC newsletter, the Pluralist: Read more…

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Vandalized Cemetery Courtesy of New York Times

Finding Hope for International Religious Freedom Amidst More Acts of Violence

The news from around the world has recently been filled with visible and violent instances of religiously-targeted violence. Just last week, as many as 250 gravestones were vandalized in a cemetery in Eastern France, an area that used to have a large Jewish population. The Jewish community in France has seen this as a reminder of the increasingly visible and vocal anti-Semitic sentiment that lingers in the country. Though French government leaders have quickly spoken out in condemnation of these attacks and in reassurance to French Jews that they are integral to France, the attacks are upsetting, unsettling and sadly no longer unimaginable acts of hate. Read more…

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Vigil

Anti-Semitic Copenhagen Attacks Deplorable

Yesterday’s twin attacks in Copenhagen are a tragic reminder of the fragility of peace, security and pluralism. Our thoughts and prayers, of course, go out to the victims and their families. Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, issued a statement, saying: “The attacks in Copenhagen are an assault on our values and on all free and democratic societies that embrace human dignity.”

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