International Religious Freedom Roundtable: A Vital Movement in the World Today

Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom
Image courtesy: Church of Scientology

“We want to get the various faiths to bind together and to stand for each other’s freedom of religion” – Sam Brownback, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

In the beginning of the State Department’s Second Annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback declared: “Our effort is to stir actions. We want to see really a global grass-roots movement around religious freedom. We want to get the various faiths to bind together and to stand for each other’s freedom of religion.” He also said that the “iron curtain” of religious persecution must “come down now.”

U.S. Leaders unequivocally raised their voices to call for a worldwide “grassroots” movement to combat religious persecution at the gathering. The ministerial is in Washington D.C. from July 15-19 and is graced by the presence of 1,000 religious and civil society leaders from around the globe and 100 foreign delegations and leaders of non-governmental organizations.

“All people must be permitted to practice their faith openly” whether at a house of worship, in public or at the comfort of their own homes, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the opening of the Ministerial.

“The right to practice and live out one’s own religion is fundamental and is already found in in the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the Catholic News Agency described Brownback as saying and “also in the constitutions of most countries.”

Brownback called all “to begin forming ‘religious freedom roundtables’ in their own communities and hosting discussions between religious leaders on ways to protect freedom of religion for everyone,” stated CNA.
“We need your activism. We need your passion. We need you to boldly fight for religious freedom. As united we do stand, divided we fall – and often we fall in catastrophic, and sometimes even genocidal, ways,” said Brownback.

The Church of Scientology is hosting two side events to the Ministerial:

The first is Thursday July 18, at noon at the Church of Scientology National Public Affairs Office at Fraser Mansion on DuPont Circle. The topic is “Advancing Accountability: Tools to Curb International Violators of Religious Freedom,” and it will focus on the Magnitsky Act as a means of exerting pressure on repressive regimes.

The second is on Friday, July 19, from 2 to 4 pm at the L. Ron Hubbard House Museum. The topic is “Advancing Stability and Economic Development Through Religious Freedom.”

The church is also making their booklet, “What is Religious Freedom” available to conference attendees. The booklet may be downloaded online:

What is the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable?

According to The Mitchell Firm,

“The IRF Roundtable is an informal group of individuals from non-governmental organizations who gather regularly to discuss IRF issues on a non-attribution basis. It is simply a safe space where participants gather, speak freely in sharing ideas and information, and propose joint advocacy actions to address specific IRF issues and problems. In response to various participant-led initiatives regarding the protection and promotion of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief in the U.S. and abroad, all participants have the opportunity to self-select into coalitions of the willing.”


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