1998 NCC News Archives

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International Delegation of Religious Leaders to Discuss
Religious Persecution, Best Strategies for Combating It
In NCC "Voices for Religious Freedom Project"


During their itinerary sponsored by the National Council of Churches, the religious leaders will meet with members of Congress, U.S. religious leaders and news media (10 a.m. news conference Tuesday 4/28, B-318, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.); others by appointment, to talk about: 

1) the realities of religious persecution in their respective countries,

2) what they see as the likely impact of U.S. intervention, and 

3) how the United States could be most helpful in ensuring religious liberty in their countries.

The NCC and partners worldwide have expressed particular concern about the sanctions-oriented Wolf/Specter Bill (Freedom from Religious Persecution Act), which they fear would, in many countries, do more harm than good for the very people it seeks to protect. They believe sanctions should be a matter of thoughtful, multilateral last resort, to be imposed only in consultation with the people they are intended to help. They further oppose any "hierarchy" of persecutions, asking equal treatment (for example, in immigration) for all who suffer any kind of human rights abuse.

HOST: The Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell, General Secretary, National Council of Churches. The NCC, founded in 1950, is the nation’s leading ecumenical organization. 34 Protestant and Orthodox denominations, with a combined U.S. membership of nearly 52 million, join as NCC members in a broad program of mission and service.

Confirmed Participants:
NCC Voices for Religious Freedom Project


Africa: The Rev. Canon Clement Janda, General Secretary, All Africa Conference of Churches -- Christian. An Anglican priest, for a number of years Dr. Janda served as the General Secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches in his native Sudan. He moved to his present post only recently. Previously he gave executive leadership in Geneva, Switzerland, to the World Council of Churches’ program of ministries in conflict situations.. He is involved with all Christian communities throughout Africa.


Dr. Amien Rais, Chairman of Muhamadiyah -- Muslim. Dr. Rais leads Muhamadiyah, a nationwide Muslim community of 28 million Indonesians. He is a respected university professor and intellectual leader in Indonesia. He has become a strong advocate for religious liberty in a nation that has the largest Muslim population in the world.

The Rev. Dr. Soritua A. E. Nababan - Christian. Dr. Nababan, of the Batak Protestant Christian Church (Lutheran heritage), is a member of his church’s Central Council. He is both a pastor and a past General Secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (then known as the Council of Churches in Indonesia). For years he was an active youth minister and leader. Currently he also serves as the Vice Moderator of the Central and Executive Committees of the World Council of Churches.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph M. Pattiasina - Christian. Dr. Pattiasina is the General Secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. Prior to assuming this ecumenical post he was a local and regional leader in his church. He is highly regarded as an effective voice for the Christian community in a predominantly Muslim nation.

Middle East: The Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, General Secretary, Middle East Council of Churches. Christian. A Presbyterian, Dr. Jarjour heads an ecumenical community of Christian bodies throughout the Middle East, including the Roman Catholic Church. A native of Syria, he currently lives in Beirut.

Pakistan: Bishop Sammy Azariah - Moderator, Church of Pakistan - Christian. Bishop Azariah, Anglican by background and now leader of a United Church, is a respected leader in the Christian community as a whole. As Moderator, he is the senior leader in his church, with both pastoral and public service experience.

Russia: Dr. Anatoly Krasikov, President, Russian Chapter, International Religious Liberty Association of Russia -- Christian. As a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, a community where many are supportive of the new religious statutes in Russia, Dr. Krasikov is the leader of an interfaith body committed to religious liberty.

NOTE: We regret that the Rev. Dr. Pablo Oden Marichal, General Secretary/President of the Cuban Council of Churches, who had accepted the NCC’s invitation to be part of this delegation, was denied a visa by the United States. We also are sorry that Dr. Han Wen Zao, President of the China Christian Council, who had hoped to come, was unable to rearrange his schedule in order to participate.


Contact: NCC News Department

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