WASHINGTON, September 24, 2012 — The American Islamic Congress (AIC) is leading a multi-faith coaltion of scholars, human rights organizations and religious organizations to call on Congress to pass Senate Bill 1245, which would create a Special Envoy for religious minorities in South Central Asia and Near East at the United States Department of State.
Senate Bill 1245 has been stalled in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations since its companion bill, H.R. 440 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. AIC, along with groups such as Open Doors and the Simon Weisenthal Center, calls for the release of the bill to allow it to pass in the Senate.
“The passage of this bill is a step in the right direction for the US’ support of religious minorities in a part of the world where they have become increasingly persecuted,” John Pinna, Director of Government Relations and International Relations at AIC said. “We want to show these communities that the United States stands by its ideals of religious freedom for people around the world and not just in our own country.”
The Special Envoy would also act as a representative of the U.S abroad, advocating for minority religious communities such as Baha’i, Christians, Jews, minority Muslims and others. These communities, as outlined by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life’s Global Restrictions on Religion report, face increasing persecution and violence for their religious beliefs.
American Islamic Congress has taken many actions to support international religious freedom over the years using the principles of the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its guides. AIC is an active participant in the roundtable that advises the U.S. Commission on International Religious Religious Freedom, and was instrumental in the commission’s reauthorization last year.
The American Islamic Congress 501(c)3 non-profit organization with headquarters in Washington and offices in Boston, Cairo, Tunis, Baghdad and Basrah. AIC is a civil rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between all peoples.