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House committee passes meng legislation to prevent religious freedom commission from discriminating against people’s religions

July 2, 2014 , Jose Pinto Stephen

IMG_4317The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) that would prohibit the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) from discriminating against people’s religion.

The measure, which was attached to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4653), would bar any form of employment discrimination by USCIRF on the basis of religion. It passed by voice vote.

Meng noted that a lawsuit was filed against the Commission by an Indian Muslim women who claimed USCIRF rescinded a job offer because she was Muslim. Meng’s legislation would protect Muslims, Hindus and those who observe all religions.

“This legislation is very fitting for a Commission that’s devoted to combating violations of religious freedom,” said Meng. “It is also appropriate given the sensitivities regarding which violations of religious freedom around the world the Commission chooses to focus on. My hope is that this amendment will help ensure the diversity, credibility, and strength of the Commission for a long time to come.“

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act, which renews funding for the organization, now heads for a vote by the full House of Representatives. It was passed by the committee on Thursday.

USCIRF is an independent bipartisan commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 that seeks to combat religious persecution around the world.

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