Tony Perkins was appointed as the new commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday.
Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, will serve as commissioner of USCIRF for a two-year term and remain president of FRC during that time, according to an FRC press release. President Donald Trump and bipartisan congressional leadership appointed Perkins. Senior fellow of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative Frank Wolf and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, both hailed Perkins’ appointment to the role.
“From my post at USCIRF, I look forward to doing all that I can to ensure that our government is the single biggest defender of religious freedom internationally. One immediate step our government can take in this regard is to make sure that the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act is fully and properly implemented,” Perkins said in a statement, according to FRC.
The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act established the independently operating USCIRF as well as the Department of State International Religious Freedom Office.
Perkins looked forward to working with cooperative representatives from countries labeled as Countries of Particular Concern to help get their countries off of that list, the new commissioner stated. (RELATED: Pakistan Put On Special Watch List For ‘Sever Violations Of Religious Freedom’)
Meriam Ibraheem, a Sudanese Christian freed from imprisonment on charges of apostasy along with her young son and newborn daughter partly due to Perkins’ help, was also pleased with Perkins’ appointment, she said.
“If it wasn’t for God, Tony and those working for religious freedom, I wouldn’t be free today. I am excited that Tony will be serving in this new role,” Ibraheem said, according to FRC.
Ibraheem now lives in the U.S. with her husband and children.
Critics like the Southern Poverty Law Center decried Perkins’ appointment to the role, accusing him of “anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT views.”
Jasser, who has worked with Perkins for several years, was “confident that his clarity and courage in the advocacy of religious freedom and universal human rights will be an outstanding addition to the mission of USCIRF and its vitally important work across the world in these difficult times,” she said.
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