MP David Anderson to Host Forum on Religious Persecution

“We must do our best to address and confront religious intolerance and religious injustice around the world. This has again been driven home by the assassination of Shabaz Bhatti, the Pakistani Minister for Minorities.”

Ottawa – March 3, 2011 – Recent events have highlighted the importance of religious freedom. Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP David Anderson is addressing this important issue by hosting a Parliamentary Forum on Religious Persecution on March 21, 2011. The intention is to address the level of awareness of religious persecution around the world. “Clearly the freedom of religious belief is a core human right and I believe this issue needs more parliamentary attention,” Anderson said.

The evening will consist of three parts; first, a personal presentation by the family of Neha Munir, a young girl raped because of her parents religious beliefs; followed by a presentation on the roots of, and reasons for, religious persecution; concluding with a panel discussion about various forms of persecution with an eye towards finding solutions/actions that can be taken to address the issue in a practical way.

Anderson commented, “As an MP I have an obligation and moral responsibility to stand up for those who are unable to do so. It is important to speak out for those whose voices have been hushed. We can no longer allow religious intolerance to overcome human rights and freedom of religion. People everywhere should possess the right to worship without being attacked, tortured, or taunted.”

The advancement of social media reveals the extent and immediate impact of religious intolerance. Religious assassinations, suicide bombings, attacks on individuals, and recent debates on the role of religion in society spotlight that this is an issue that is relevant in every country.

The Parliamentary Forum scheduled for March 21 on Parliament Hill will not only bring attention to religious persecution abroad but will also highlight religious discussions here in Canada.

“We will continue to focus on the issue of religious freedom in the future. Christians are now the most persecuted group in the world, facing religious pressure in over 100 countries. Ultimately this is a human rights issue that needs to be addressed. If justice is to be realized it must exist for all people and not just a few,” concluded Anderson.