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Published on 28 January, 2013

Religious freedom the focus of briefing in Washington

USA (MNN) — Religious freedom is waning in Eurasia and the Former Soviet Union. You've heard the stories. Churches liquidated, fathers arrested for holding a prayer meeting, pastors arrested for not registering the church, and families restricted to owning just one Bible.

As a result of these alarming trends, Russian Ministries–in cooperation with its global partners listed below and the Office of Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania)–is sponsoring a briefing on religious freedom issues in Eurasia/Former Soviet Union, with a focus on causes of suppression of religious freedom.

President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says, "This briefing is to create more awareness and to mobilize the global community so that policies are developed and pressure is created on governments in the countries of the Former Soviet Union to give more freedom to the churches and leaders there."

Rakhuba says they want to analyze some of the causes of increasing restrictions on freedom of religion, including such issues as blasphemy and anti-extremism laws in Russia, and bans on legal existence in Central Asian states. They also hope to highlight specific cases of violations of freedom of religion and encourage support from the global community.

The briefing will be held Wednesday, February 6 from 11 am to 2 pm in Washington, DC at the Rayburn House office building, room B-340.

Prospective speakers include Ed Brown: Senior Human Rights Advisor with Stefanus Alliance International; Matti Sirvio: founder of the Greater Grace Protestant Church in Azerbaijan; Rasmi Khalilov: President of the Evangelical Alliance of Azerbaijan; and Pastor of the World of Life Church plus others.

The briefing is being held a day before the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. Rakhuba is hoping for a good turn-out, but ultimately he's hoping it has an impact. He hopes "to help brothers and sisters in those areas so that they will have more freedom to worship, more freedom to reach out to their communities, more freedom to bring the Good News and their society, communities, and their areas."

If you'd like additional information, contact Russian Ministries at (888) 462-7639 or on the Web at RussianMinistries.org.

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