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(Dallas) Mr. Mike Ghouse, president of the Foundation for Pluralism, and a Muslim leader, has endorsed the Faith, Freedom and Family Tour rally at Dallas City Hall on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. Mr. Ghouse, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, joins local civic and religious leaders, including TV talk show host Ester Davis, as well as Japanese-Americans wearing Japanese kimonos, who will be on hand to welcome two university students stopping in Dallas during a 2,300-mile bicycle ride to raise awareness about the Japanese treatment of minorities. The rally will take place Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the flag poles in front of Dallas City Hall.
The goal of the tour is to raise public awareness of the fact that since 1966 more than 4,000 Unification Church members in Japan, as well as significant numbers of members of other faiths, have been abducted and confined for months or years of psychological and physical abuse in an effort to break their faith. Mr. Luke Higuchi, a Japanese survivor of abduction and forced conversion, will report his experience at the rally.
Mr. Ghouse recently has written:
“We in Dallas welcome these bike riders who highlight an issue that we should all think about. As global citizens we need to commit ourselves to building cohesive societies in which no one has to live in anxiety, apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. This is what all of the spiritual masters wanted to do. This is what Jesus wanted to do, to create the Kingdom of Heaven.”
As has been reported on Examiner.com and elsewhere, two young scholars of Japanese and American descent, Mr. Seijin Tranberg and Mr. Joshua Wildman, both 22, began their Freedom Ride on December 15, 2011 in Atlanta, the birthplace of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, under the banner of “Faith, Freedom, and Family.”Prior to starting their tour, Mr. Tranberg briefed twelve congressmen at their offices on Capitol Hill. All 12, representing states from Georgia to California, expressed support for persecuted religious people of the world by signing Mr. Tranberg’s route map and posing with him for photographs
Some freedoms U.S. citizens take for granted are established by law within the borders of other countries but are still emerging in practice. In Japan, for example, religious freedom is guaranteed in its constitution, but Japanese authorities have not yet acted to prevent and prosecute violent crimes committed in the name of faith-breaking, perpetrated against members of minority faiths. Mr. Tranberg also is calling the rally to raise awareness of the rights abuses against religious minorities the world over, including Baptists in Russia, Coptic Christians in Egypt, Bahai’s in Iran, and many others.
Both Tranberg and Wildman have Japanese mothers and American Fathers. They also share membership in a persecuted minority faith, that of the Unification Church, founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Representatives of several persecuted minority groups, including Nigerian Christians, Hindus, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Sikhs, Scientologists and others have been invited to participate. The rally celebrating their stop here in Dallas, at City Hall Plaza, already has sparked supportive comment from local leaders. Rev. Don E. Peavy, Sr., Associate Minister, New Vision Christian Church in Fort Worth has written:
“We wish Seijin and Joshua Godspeed in their momentous adventure to spread the Gospel of the common bond we all share as children of God. Their mission is particularly critical at this moment given the mass killings in Nigeria on Christmas Day and the religious insensitivity and intolerance which continue to keep far too many people from living the abundant life for which Jesus the Christ came into the world.”
The two bike riders will pedal out of Dallas Monday, January 2, and head west, to arrive in Los Angeles by Jan 29, 2012. Along the way they will be greeted by clergy, human-rights activists and well-wishers.
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