Middle East Meeting: "We Need More Religious Freedom Advocates"

IRLA leaders urged to be "people-helpers and community-builders"

"Keeping peace and building good relations with everyone in the community" are the two key job requirements for religious freedom advocates, said IRLA General-Secretary Dr. John Graz, speaking last week at a gathering of IRLA representatives in Beirut, Lebanon.

The meeting drew together more than twenty IRLA representatives from across Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia to discuss current issues and challenges. They met February 22 to 26 on the campus of Middle Eastern University, just east of the city of Beirut.

Dr. Delbert Baker, IRLA vice president, challenged participants to be "people-helpers and community builders," "learners of culture," and "outgoing, open-minded networkers."

The political changes sweeping many Middle Eastern countries in recent weeks lent a sense of urgency to the meetings, said Dr. Graz. "We've witnessed how quickly the political and social landscape can change. I believe now, more than ever, we need effective and outspoken advocates for religious freedom and tolerance."  [IRLA Staff]