WASHINGTON, July 16, 2012 – As the Middle East continues to face political and social transition, it is critical for the U.S. to advocate for the safety and security of religious minorities in the region and highlight how respect for pluralism contributes to strong civil societies. The American Islamic Congress (AIC) is at the forefront of these issues and is joining the exhibit “Religious Pluralism in the Middle East: Will the Arab Spring Break the Cycle of Religious Persecution?” on Capitol Hill tomorrow evening.
The event will highlight the challenges religious minorities face throughout the Middle East and will include representatives from communities such as the Baha’i of Iran, Coptic Christians of Egypt, and the Assyrians and Yezidis of Iraq. Members of Congress, government agencies and the public will attend.
DETAILS: Thursday, July 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Katrino Lantos Swett, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
HOSTS: Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom; Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Caucus; Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Caucus; Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL); Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
AIC’S PRESENTATION: AIC will present its 2012 anthology of essays called “Arab Spring Dreams: The Next Generation Speaks Out for Freedom and Justice from North Africa to Iran” – a testament to the aspiration for freedom and civil rights that helped drive the Arab Spring.
AIC also will present its 2008 Arabic translation of the 1958 Martin Luther King Jr. comic book “The Montgomery Story.” The comic book lays out essential techniques of nonviolence, and thousands of copies were distributed throughout the Middle East. Today it widely is credited for helping spark nonviolent activism during the Arab Spring.
WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building Foyer, 45 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20515
WHEN: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Thursday, July 19