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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 9, 1998


International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

I welcome today's strong bipartisan Senate passage, and the anticipated passage in the House of Representatives, of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

I have made the promotion of religious freedom a priority of my presidency and an integral part of our foreign policy through, among other efforts, the creation of the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad and my appointment last June of our special representative on international religious freedom.

The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 is a welcome and responsible addition to our ongoing efforts. Its principled, measured approach rightly emphasizes effective remedies over broad, symbolic gestures.

I also wish to applaud the bipartisan, cooperative approach that helped achieve this legislation, in particular the leadership of Senators Nickles, Lieberman, Hagel, Biden, Feinstein, and Specter and Representative Clement. I'd also like to pay tribute at this time to Representative Frank Wolf, whose longstanding and devoted advocacy for this issue has been an inspiration to those of us so determined to promote religious freedom abroad.

This legislation is not directed against any one country or religious faith. Indeed, this act will serve to promote the religious freedom of people of all backgrounds, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, or any other faith. I look forward to signing this Act.