Bahá'í Library Online
.. . .
Back to Newspaper articles archive: 1997

FREEDOM FROM RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION ACT (House of Representatives - June 04, 1997)

[Page: H3434]

(Mr. WOLF asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak on behalf of millions of people of faith around the world who are living in fear of religious persecution. In order to draw attention to this modern day tragedy, a number of Members, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Hall] and others, have introduced the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act, which has over 40 cosponsors. I urge and beg my colleagues to cosponsor this bill and send a message around the world that America will not be silent on this issue.

The bill addresses the great untold human rights story of decades, persecution of peoples of faith around the world, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, the Bahai faith. Slavery thrives in Sudan and this Congress does not a darned thing about it.

I hear Members talk about it, they give speeches about it, but, frankly, we do nothing about it. I urge my colleagues to do something about it. Cosponsor this bipartisan bill which has 40 cosponsors and let us pass it whereby we can help people of faith around the world.

  • The bill does a number of things. It focuses on persecution; abduction, enslavement, imprisonment, killing, forced mass resettlement, rape, or torture. It establishes an office in the White House to monitor religious persecution and requires the director to report to Congress whether foreign governments actively participate or fail to take steps to curtail religious persecution. It shuts of aid and requires U.S. executive directors to vote against multilateral development bank loans to persecuting countries. And it improves refugee and asylum procedures to ensure those seeking refuge from persecution are not turned away from a country which has historically welcomed religious victims.

  • The time has come for Congress to take a stand. Mr. Speaker, our bill would ensure that we take a new approach to this growing problem--an approach that says we will no longer be silent when regimes terrorize or allow terror against its religious believers. I urge my colleagues to cosponsor this bill.

©Copyright 1997, U.S. Senate

Original Story can be found here.

Page last revised 051199

. .