House passes religious freedom reform bill

From WORLD. By J.C. Derrick. Posted 5/17/16, 09:30 am

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill late Monday to give the State Department more tools to promote religious freedom abroad.“Around the world we are witnessing an unprecedented crisis of international religious freedom, a crisis that continues to create millions of victims,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who introduced the bipartisan legislation with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. “A robust religious freedom diplomacy is necessary to advance U.S. interests in stability, security, and economic development.“

“Over 60 organizations and individuals signed a multi-faith letter and have long advocated for passage of this vital legislation because we believe it strengthens IRFA at a critical time when assaults on religious freedom around the world are systemic and growing,” said Greg Mitchell, co-chairman of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable. “International religious freedom … is the ultimate counter-terrorism weapon, pre-emptively undermining religious extremism.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has introduced companion legislation in the Senate, but no timetable has been set for its consideration in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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