For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., June 8, 2015)—On June 9, the American Humanist Association, with the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Coalition for America, will be hosting congressional briefings to educate legislators about the state of international religious freedom. The briefings come in the wake of the deaths of humanist Bangladeshi bloggers, who were brutally murdered by religious extremists.
“Humanists, atheists and religious minorities should not have to live in fear for their lives simply because their convictions differ from the majority in their country,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We call upon our legislators to globally promote the freedom of speech and condemn persecution and intolerance.”
The briefings will draw attention to the threat to the human rights of atheists, humanists and other religious groups around the world. In addition to the three Bangladeshi bloggers murdered just this past year for their atheism, religious minority groups such as Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan, Christians in Syria, and Jews in France also face serious persecution.
Speakers will discuss how particular religious and nonreligious communities have been threatened or oppressed in recent years as well as actions U.S. policymakers can take to ensure that the freedoms of speech and religion are upheld worldwide. Speakers include: Elizabeth K. Cassidy, Deputy Director for Policy and Research, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; Tina Ramirez, Founder and Executive Director of Hardwired, former International and Government Relations Director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Mahmood Ahmad, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA; and Michael De Dora, Director of Public Policy for the Center for Inquiry, President of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Maggie Ardiente, Development and Communications director of the American Humanist Association, will moderate the briefing, and Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, will also be in attendance.
The briefings will be held in the U.S. Senate Russell Office Building, Room 485, at 11:00 am ET and in the U.S. House Longworth Building, Room 1310, at 12:45 pm ET. Members of the media who are interested in attending should contact Merrill Miller, communications associate, at email@example.com or at 202-238-9088.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.