DearColleague.us

Letter

Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Christopher H. Smith
Sent By: scott.flipse@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 1150
Date: 4/28/2015

CO-SPONSOR THE FRANK WOLF INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT
H.R. 1150 will help the Administration fight violent extremism without putting more ‘boots on the ground’ in the Middle East and elswhere.
Co-sponsors (86): Robert Pittenger, Barbara Comstock, Sheila Jackson Lee, Charles Rangel, Robert Aderholt, Juan Vargas, Susan Brooks, John Delaney, Bill Flores, Grace Napolitano, Randy Forbes, Brenda Lawrence, Chuck Fleischmann, Dan Lipinksi, David Trott, Elizabeth Etsy, Vicky Hartzler, Derek Kilmer, John Carter, Joseph Pitts, Doug Lamborn, Marsha Blackburn, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, George Holding, Paul Woodall, Joe Wilson, Tim Wahlberg, Daniel Webster, Michael Burgess, Steve Pearce, Austin Scott, Dave Reichert, Jeff Fortenberry, Dana Rohrabacher, Mike Pompeo, Steve King, David Rouzer, Rich Nugent, Tom Cole, Randy Hultgren, Bob Gibbs, Pete Sessions, Marlin Stutzman, Richard Hudson, Chris Stewart, Steve Stivers, Roger Williams, Jackie Walorski, David Joyce, Mark Walker, Mark Meadows, Glen Thompson, Mike Bost, John Fleming, Louie Gohmert, Randy Weber, Ted Yoho, Mike Conaway, Phil Roe, John Shimkus, David McKinley, Joe Barton, Mike Turner, Mick Mulvaney, Dennis Ross, Andy Barr, Earl Carter, John Mica, Trent Franks, Jeff Duncan, Luke Messer, Peter King, Trey Gowdy, French Hill, Randy Neugebauer, Diane Black, John Culbertson,Tom Marino, Robert Latta, Brian Babin,Ted Poe, Bill Johnson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dan Benishek, Jared Polis
Every week the headlines are filled with stories about beheadings, kidnappings, arrests, and other horrific violence and discrimination targetnig religious minorities. In the Middle East we are seeing attempts to systematically exterminate religious minorities. In Burma and Pakistan, Muslim and Christian minorities alike face systematic violence and discrimination. In Africa, terrorist organizations kill thousands in societal violence. In China, Vietnam, and North Korea, any independent religious belief is viewed as an unwanted competitor to the Communist state, leading to severe restrictions, arrests, and torture.
According to the Pew Research Foundation, government sponsored attacks on religious freedom are at a seven year high. Yet, also according to Pew, countries with the highest religious freedom protections have the lowest levels of religious violence and terrorism.
President Obama and the State Department have asked for new ideas to address the roots causes of “violent extremism” without “putting more boots on the ground.” We believe that more robust efforts to advance religious freedom diplomatically will enhance U.S. security interests around the world and help protect vulnerable religious minorities and a growing anti-Semitism as well.
The Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act will improve U.S. religious freedom diplomacy efforts globally; better train and equip diplomats to counter extremism; address anti-Semitism and religious persecution, and mitigate sectarian conflict. The bill will help the Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom coordinate diplomatic efforts globally and within the U.S. government and will also reauthorize the independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom with same language that passed unanimously in the House of Representatives last year.
Our bill is named after former Congressman Frank Wolf, a tireless champion for the rights of the poor and the persecuted globally. It is largely because of his efforts that religious freedom is taken seriously as a foreign policy issue. Our bill will upgrade his landmark legislation, the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, to better address the religious freedom and violent extremism problems of the 21st century.
To cosponsor or receive more information about the bill, your staff can contact Scott Flipse at 6-3777 or by email at Scott.Flipse@mail.house.gov, or Hannah Murphy with Rep. Eshoo at 5-8104 or by email at Hannah.Murphy@mail.house.gov
Most gratefully,

Christopher H. Smith Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress Member of Congress