Ottawa, ON – Today, Canada’s Jewish, Sikh, and Ahmadiyya Muslim communities reaffirmed their support for the Office of Religious Freedom in a joint letter to the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In the letter, Shimon Koffler Fogel (CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs), Dr. Amritpal Singh Shergill (President of the World Sikh Organization of Canada), and Asif Khan (National Secretary – Public Relations of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Canada) observed that the persecution of religious minorities is particularly acute in large parts of the world, affecting hundreds of millions across a wide range of communities. The signatories noted: “The Office of Religious Freedom, under the capable stewardship of Ambassador Bennett, has proven an effective advocate in highlighting the issue of religious persecution, partnering with Diaspora communities in Canada, and raising our country’s profile as a world leader in human rights promotion on the international stage.”
Following the submission of the letter, CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel remarked: “Far from being a partisan issue, freedom of religion and the right of minorities to live in security are core Canadian values in keeping with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By joining hands with our friends in the Sikh and Ahmadiyya communities, we are affirming that a diversity of Canadians appreciate the vital and practical work of the Office of Religious Freedom – and believe it should remain a fixture of Canada’s foreign policy. Based on CIJA’s meeting with Minister Dion earlier this month, we are encouraged by the fact that advancing human rights will be a central focus of the government’s international engagement. We are hopeful that he will continue to make use of the Office of Religious Freedom as a key tool in Canadian diplomacy.”
See the joint letter to Minister Dion: