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“The Crisis of Religious Freedom in Nigeria”, High-Level Event

  • U.S. Department of State designated Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern in 2020 due to rising religious persecution
  • Religious freedom experts to strategize on action to be taken

WASHINGTON DC (13 July) – Tomorrow, ADF International will host a dinner event on the grave challenges facing Nigeria regarding the protection of religious freedom. The high-level event will take place at the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C., on July 14. The Summit will be this year’s largest civil society-led conference on international religious freedom in the world. Expert speakers will highlight the necessity of a sustained and well-supported international effort to turn the tide against the violence and discrimination ravaging Nigeria.

“Persecution against people of faith around the world must end. For too long, Nigeria has violated the fundamental rights of people of faith by allowing impunity for egregious crimes committed against religious minorities, and in particular against Christians. The international community must act and show that atrocities committed based on religious motives or identity will not be tolerated. We call on Nigeria to protect everyone’s inalienable right to religious freedom,” said Kelsey Zorzi, Director of Global Religious Freedom for ADF International.

Religious persecution on the rise in Nigeria

In December 2020, the U.S. Department of State for the first time designated Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The designation was a recognition of the dire situation facing religious minorities in Northern Nigeria and the Middle Belt. For over a decade, the terrorist group Boko Haram has targeted Christians and attacked other Muslims. In recent years, the brutality of attacks from various militants has only seemed to increase. One major report has even raised the specter of genocide. Further, despite guarantees of religious freedom in the Nigerian Constitution, discriminatory laws and practices, such as the use of blasphemy laws, affect a wide range of individuals, including Muslims, Christians, and atheists.

Human rights experts to discuss concrete actions

The International Religious Freedom Summit is being hosted by former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, and former Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Katrina Lantos Swett. The event will feature high-level leaders from government and civil society. More information can be found at www.irfsummit.com.

ADF International is a faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people. ADF International is one of the Premier Partner sponsors of the International Religious Freedom Summit and is the host of the dinner. The dinner, a featured event of the IRF Summit, will be the highlight of the first evening.

Speakers:

  • Rev. Johnnie Moore, former Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and co-author of the book, The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa, with Rabbi Abraham Cooper
  • Bishop Dr. Sunday Onuoha, Global Peace Foundation
  • Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto
  • USCIRF Commissioner Tony Perkins, who has “adopted” the Nigerian Christian teenager Leah Sharibu as a prisoner of conscience
  • Dr. Gloria Samdi Puldu, LEAH Foundation
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