Minority showcase: Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), along with the International Religious Freedom Caucus, host an exhibit of religious minorities throughout the Middle East this evening in the Rayburn foyer starting at 6 p.m. The event will highlight “the challenges religious minorities face throughout the Middle East, with representatives from communities such as the Coptic Christians of Egypt, Baha’i of Iran, and Assyrians and Yezidis of Iraq.”
The U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook, will speak at the event and Katrina Lantos Swett, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and president and chief executive officer of The Lantos Foundation, will deliver the keynote address.
Franks is one of five lawmakers who signed on to a recent letter raising questions about the loyalty of certain Muslim-Americans in government. The letter received a scathing reprimand from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
In other news:
The Obama administration is working on contingency plans in case the regime in Syria collapses, The New York Times reports.
Egypt's former intelligence chief died at a U.S. hospital. [CNN]
Hyon Yong Chol was named North Korea's new army chief while Kim Jong Un took the title of marshal, cementing his status atop the authoritarian nation's military [Associated Press]
What you might have missed on Global Affairs:
Senate panel kills measure to tie Russia trade bill to Syrian arms sales
Senators slam Obama administration's lack of transparency in trade negotiations
Senate panel tasks customs agents with blocking subsidized imports
This post was updated at 9:45 a.m.
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