Lord Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, UK’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, has been named the UK’s first Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief.
He is invested with the responsibility to “promote the UK’s firm stance on religious tolerance abroad, helping to tackle religious discrimination in countries where minority faith groups face persecution,” according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Ahmad said he plans to “use the UK Government’s global network to reach across religious divides, seek the elimination of discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and bring different communities together.”
“In too many parts of the world, religious minorities are persecuted, discriminated against and treated as second-class citizens. As a man of faith, I feel this very keenly.”
The role of the religious freedom envoy will be similar to that of the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. It will “demonstrate the country’s commitment to religious freedom by promoting inter-faith respect and dialogue internationally,” the government said in its press release. “The appointment underscores the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackling religious prejudice in all its forms and follows the government’s recent announcement of a further £1 million funding for places of worship that have been subjected to hate crime attacks.”
In addition to his new responsibilities, Lord Ahmad will continue to serve as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.