FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2018
At Gathering of 37,000 Ahmadi Muslims, USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore Vows to Make Religious Freedom in Pakistan a Priority
Commissioner Moore also formally adopts religious prisoner of conscience Abdul Shakoor
WASHINGTON, DC - Commissioner Johnnie Moore, of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), promised to make religious freedom in Pakistan a priority at this week’s gathering of nearly 37,000 Ahmadis at the 52nd Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Kingdom. Following this event, Commissioner Moore also formally adopted Abdul Shakoor, an Ahmadi Muslim imprisoned in Pakistan since 2015 on false terrorism charges.
“I have a personal commitment to make sure that you are not forgotten,” Commissioner Moore said, alluding to the physical, social, and legal threats Ahmadis face in many countries where they reside, particularly Pakistan. Speaking before convention attendees and a television audience of millions, he added, “USCIRF will continue to make it a priority to raise a voice for the Ahmadiyya community.”
During the gathering, Commissioner Moore met the leader of the global Ahmadiyya community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and other Ahmadi leaders from Canada, the U.K., and delegations from Africa and Asia. Commissioner Moore also met with Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the U.K.’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
“USCIRF will be unrelenting in advocating for the Ahmadi’s religious freedom,” Commissioner Moore told the Jalsa Salana audience, which gathered in the English countryside under a banner proclaiming “Love for All, Hatred for None.” He continued, “The best war against an ideology that aims to promote fear is to stand in solidarity with those who promote peace.”
Since 2002, USCIRF has recommended that the State Department designate Pakistan as a “country of particular concern” for “ongoing, systematic, egregious violations of religious freedom.” USCIRF has also called for the use of tools such as the denial of visas and the freezing of assets against specific individuals who have participated in or have been responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.
In addition, Commissioner Moore recently co-authored with Vice Chair Gayle Manchin an op-ed published in Religion News Service entitled, “Stop the Weaponization of Religion in Pakistani Politics.”
Abdul Shakoor is part of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project, which highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF’s mission is to elevate and promote international religious freedom as a norm and practice. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Javier Peña at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-202-674-2598.