21Wilberforce releases publication commemorating 20 years of the International Religious Freedom Act

Religion News Service | 12/13/2018 | Staff
WASHINGTON — 1998 was a momentous year. Osama bin Laden published fatwas declaring jihad against all Jews and crusaders, and Europeans agreed on a single currency. Also during that year, Google was founded; Apple Computer unveiled the iMac; Exxon and Mobil merged to create the world’s largest petroleum company; and the International Religious Freedom Act was enacted. This transformative piece of legislation was written, debated, re-written and nearly left for dead before Congress voted unanimously for its passage in the fall of 1998. This week the human rights organization 21Wilberforce released The 20th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act: A Retrospective. This publication, which was made possible by support from the Religion News Foundation, captures the historical context and the collaborative efforts needed to pass the law that has driven considerable human rights initiatives over the past 20 years.

Signed into law on October 27, 1998, by then-President Bill Clinton, the IRF Act established the framework to elevate religious freedom as a priority within U.S. foreign policy. Among other provisions, the law created the Office of International Religious Freedom within the U.S. Department of State, as well as the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. It also established the independent, bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and ensured annual reporting...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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