News/IRF Summit 2023 - Observations and Analysis

IRF Summit 2023 - Observations and Analysis

Alvin Cheah
February 07, 2023
IRF Summit 2023 - Observations and Analysis

Alvin Cheah is a preacher born in Malaysia, but residing in Shanghai, China with his wife Eva.

Alvin Cheah participated in the international Religious Freedom Summit (IRF Summit) in Washington DC on January 31st-February 1st, 2023.

Here are Alvin Cheah´s observations and analysis:

1. Ambassador Sam Brownback, Host of the Summit - I was very happy about meeting Sam personally and having two brief but important conversations with him. Sam strikes me as an affable, sincere and genuine person. This was refreshing amidst a sea of not-so-genuine people who were in Washington to secure powerful people and money. A man with the tender heart of a spiritual father.

2. Dr Katrina Lantos Sweet, Co-Host - Katrina brought a personal face to the summit...gracious, warm... She is endearing to all.

These two leaders are a blessing to the summit by their genuineness, warmth, sincerity, intelligence and friendliness!

3.  The participants are mostly very motivated and committed to religious freedom. A few are survivors of religious persecution and provided a very sobering perspective to the summit.

4.  However, I found myself, in closer reflection: How the summit can move forward from just a talk shop, to make decisions and forge an action plan to confront religious oppression and human rights abuse. The problem is that the most important international socio-political issues of the day have not been addressed.... These issues are like 'elephants in the room', and cannot be ignored if we are really committed to religious freedom and human rights.

These 'elephants in the room' have to do with the USA´s own record of human rights abuse and religious oppression. If Washington cannot resolve these issues and their present-day consequences, there is no moving forward.... The summit's lofty declaration is going to sound hollow, and we may be accused of hypocrisy.

These issues are:

4.1  The problem of Native Americans, who were subjected to the US government and army extermination via many Indian-White Man wars over 200+ years. By the same account, close to 14 million out of a population of 14.5 million natives were massacred by the US army, and their land stolen.... Their culture and religion destroyed.... It was genocide on a grand scale! Today, the native Americans still suffer the consequences of this gemocide.
4.2  The problem of black slavery and oppression. No compensation has ever been awarded to the black community to this day, for the abuse and suffering during slavery.
4.3  More recently, there's the issue of Washington's devastating wars in the Middle East (mainly Iraq and Afghanistan) which killed almost one million Arab Muslims.... Most of them civilians, women and children.

5. Without addressing these 'elephants in the room' adequately, the IRF Summit cannot hope to move forward, but becomes a farce.

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