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Dying They Prayed “Ya Rabbi Yasua”


by Tihomir Kukolja

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You saw the picture. Maybe you watched the video too. Or maybe you avoided paying attention because the sight was too violent?
Here is the picture. A group of Coptic Christians from Egypt, dressed in the orange prisoner costumes are led ritualistically to slaughter somewhere on the Mediterranean shore in Libya. They are then lined up and forced on their knees next to each other. Behind them are standing, posing arrogantly and shamelessly, their assassins with their knives at the ready. Anticipating the imminence of their death the victims are praying, “Ya Rabbi Yasua” – “My Lord Jesus”. The next moment the innocent men are dead, beheaded. Their only crime was that they were “the people of the cross”.

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Interfaith Leaders Fast to Protest Solitary Confinement


20120703-solitary_confinment.jpg BY CHRIS LISEE An interfaith coalition is urging the U.S. Congress to end solitary confinement, which they said is a "harmful, costly, and ineffective practice." Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith leaders joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to break a 23-hour nationwide fast on June 19 at a press conference following the first-ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement. "We're breaking our fast with a commitment that this issue is not over (and) that we're going to even give more energy to our effort to make sure that no one has to spend time in solitary confinement," said Richard Killmer, NRCAT's executive director and a Presbyterian minister.

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‘The end of the 7th World Congress is really a beginning,’ says IRLA president


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Denton Lotz, General Secretary emeritus of the Baptist World Alliance, was one of many men and women honored in the final session of the 7th World Congress for their perseverance in working for the cause of religious freedom

Three days of reports, discussions, and presentations came to an end April 26 with a program honoring men and women who have “walked the extra mile for religious freedom.” IRLA President Dr Denton Lotz urged the almost 900 attendees at the 7th World Congress to see the occasion not as the end, but as the beginning of a renewed commitment to work for religious freedom of all people, no matter what their faith tradition.

Lotz, General Secretary emeritus of the Baptist World Alliance, has served as IRLA president for more than 12 years. He received a Lifetime Commitment Award recognizing his outstanding contribution to the cause of liberty around the world.

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World Congress reflections: Discrimination and the persecutory impulse


Gregory W. Hamilton, president of the US-based Northwest Religious Liberty Association, reflects on his experiences at the 7th World Congress for Religious Freedom.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, April 26 … The persecutory impulse is alive and well in many societies throughout the world. This has been made forcefully and eloquently clear during this Congress, despite the many progress reports of many countries represented at this quadrennial event.

Brigham Young University Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., reminded us that between 70 and 76 percent of the world’s population are experiencing persecution. Religious freedom and human rights is not advancing. While small and major religious freedom and human rights advances are being made in key countries and regions, and often accompanied with democratic reform, these values appear to be regressing at a fairly rapid rate.

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Religious Liberty Protection Comes From Grass Roots, Experts Say



Government important, but people "on the ground" essential (Posted April 25, 2012)

BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor, Adventist Review, reporting from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Whether it's involvement in local religious freedom issues or helping to change the situation for believers in Laos or Vietnam, the presence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private citizens is essential to the promotion and protection of religious liberty, three experts said April 24, 2012.

Speaking at the International Religious Liberty Association's Seventh World Congress in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Knox Thames, Director of Policy and Research for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF); Ambassador Robert Seiple, president of the Center for America's First Freedom and an IRLA board member; and Richard T. Foltin, Director of National and Legislative Affairs for the American Jewish Committee each stressed the need for grass-roots efforts in support of religious liberty for all.

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