UN Expert on Religious Intolerance Appeals for Support, Commends Adventists
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New York, NY… United Nations expert Ms. Asma Jahangir appealed for greater support in the fight against religious intolerance during a meeting in New York on October 24. She also commended the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, saying "you have been in the forefront of fighting religious intolerance, wanting a space for every human being to believe what they want to."
But much more is needed, according to Jahangir, noting that with the limited resources she had, it was not possible to do everything that was needed, but that by partnering with non-government organizations much more could be achieved. She spoke particularly of the dangers of politicization of religion, saying that "politics should not be allowed to overtake people's right to believe." She also called on all faith communities to commit themselves to ending religious intolerance, adding that "unless we get the support of all religions at the UN, the work that I am undertaking will not be achieved."
In a special plea to Adventists, Jahangir spoke with passion about the church's role. "I appeal to you, give new hope to people so we can live as a wider humanity, respecting each other's beliefs and religion."
Jahangir, who is the UN's special rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, intervenes in cases of religious persecution and violence around the world. She herself is no stranger to violence and discrimination, having been the victim of an attack in her home country of Pakistan this year.
"We salute Asma Jahangir's deep commitment to tackling the growing scourge of religious intolerance," comments Jonathan Gallagher, the Adventist church's representative to the UN, who was present at the meeting. "The true modern tragedy is that more and more men, women, and children are suffering and dying just because of what they believe. As Christians we are committed to religious liberty for all people everywhere, believing that this speaks so well of the God of freedom." [PARL News]
School Children Help Celebrate UN Week at Headquarters
Spencerville Adventist Academy first graders graced the Adventist Church's world headquarters as the highpoint of United Nations week celebrations. UN day is commemorated on October 24 and the childrens presentation brought home the real importance of religious freedom and human rights, according to UN liaison director Dr Jonathan Gallagher.
The young presenters under the direction of their teacher Tammy Charles sung and spoke their understanding of what religious freedom meant to them.
"They really made a great impact to the 400 worshipers present," says Gallagher. "We hope to have them back."
The school children also brought with them pictures they had drawn to illustrate religious liberty thoughts they themselves had devised. [PARL News]
Some of the captions from the artwork:
"I can go to church."
"I don't have to be afraid to talk to my friends about Jesus."
"I can read my Bible in the park."
"I have the choice to defend in court my right to keep Sabbath."
"I can shop in a Christian bookstore."
"I am free to say grace in a restaurant."
Ms. Asma Jahangir speaks in New York
Children's artwork tells what they think of religious freedom
Spencerville first graders make a point
Singing what they believe