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World News

Secretive new 'International Religious Freedom Alliance' to meet for first time ahead of National Prayer Breakfast

Government officials from a number of different countries are set to come together in Washington D.C. later this week for the inaugural gathering of the “International Religious Freedom Alliance.” The newly formed group, said to be organised under the watchful gaze of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is currently made up of 17 different countries -- the identity of which has yet to be disclosed. 

Speaking to reporters last week, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback described the alliance as an “activist club” of nations who are committed to expanding religious freedoms across the globe.

“I have not seen this type of organisation or push on a human right that I am aware of before," Brownback said, according to the Christian Post. "This is the first effort really to get a group of nations that will be the activist on a particular human right to try to champion and pursue that cause more aggressively.” 

The Ambassador continued: “We will be looking at things we can work collectively on and [how] we can push for religious freedom efforts around the world... we are excited about the countries and their enthusiasm."

The alliance was initially touted by Mike Pompeo last July, before being mentioned by President Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in September. 

Brownback hopes that at least ten more countries will join the group as time progresses, though he wants to ensure the members are fully committed to the proliferation of religious freedom.

"We got a pretty high bar for joining it, honestly," he said. "We want nations that respect religious freedom in their own country and are willing to push religious freedom in international venues. This is the activist club of countries."

At this point, it is unclear whether or not the UK is among the 17 nations that currently make up the alliance or even if it intends on being part of the group in the future.

 

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