More than 1000 participants from all continents were gathered for three days in Washington DC this week at the International Religious Freedom Summit (IRF Summit) to highlight religious freedom globally, although with a heavy slant for US and UK views.
European Apostolic Leaders (EAL) was represented for the second year in a row by our president Jan-Aage Torp.
- Although there was no opportunity in the program to raise issues of concern, nor to raise questions regarding the one-sided accounts, I had very constructive conversations with the Co-Chairs of the IRF Summit, former Ambassador/Senator Sam Brownback and human rights leader Dr Katrina Lantos Swett, says Jan-Aage Torp.
Torp was active in informal conversations with delegates from all continents.
The event drew attention to global religious freedom by stressing tragedies of religious persecution, with a special focus on China, North Korea, India, Pakistan and Iran. Pertinent issues were highlighted.
However, while pinpointing alleged «religious thought control» in nations like North Korea and China, no mention was made of the repeated verdicts from 2019 until 2023 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France against Norway’s infamous practice of taking children from families of faith; nor was any mention made of the United Kingdom’s new «thought control» practice of imprisoning people who pray silently against abortion.
In the welcome message of the International Religious Freedom Summit (IRF Summit), the Co-Chairs Sam Brownback and Katrina Lantos Swett stated:
«The issue of international religious freedom touches every culture, nation, religion, and political system. At present, almost 80 percent of the world’s inhabitants live in countries where there are high levels of governmental or societal restrictions on religion, and restrictions have been steadily increasing for several years. The implications of this reality touches every area of life.
The IRF Summit 2023 brings together a broad coalition that passionately supports religious freedom around the globe.
Together we will raise the profile of international religious freedom on a wide variety of issues using an array of mechanisms best suited for each circumstance. The Summit will connect resources and advocates interested in religious freedom and highlight the personal testimonies of survivors of religious persecution and restrictions on religious freedom.
Bringing attention to the plight of religious adherents who are persecuted, individually and collectively, will grow the grassroots and global movement for religious freedom.
Together we will gain political support for the global religious freedom movement and embolden civil society, people of faith, and governments to take a stand for religious freedom.»