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March for Martyrs Plans DC Rally With Enes Freedom To Focus On Religious Persecution

March for Martyrs
People participate in March for the Martyrs 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy For the Martyrs

(RNS) — Advocates for religious freedom, including basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom, are planning to gather on the National Mall this weekend to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians across the globe.

The March for the Martyrs is set to be held Saturday (Sept. 24) for the third year in row with a particular focus on China, said Gia Chacón, founder of the nonprofit For the Martyrs.

Other expected speakers include Open Doors USA CEO David Curry and Andrew Brunson, a U.S. minister who survived two years of political imprisonment in Turkey.

Freedom, a Muslim man, has been outspoken about human rights issues in his native Turkey and in other places across the globe.

Including a speaker with Freedom’s religious background sends a message about the need to build bridges between Christians and Muslims, Chacón told Religion News Service in an email.

Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter, left, moves against Toronto Raptors’ Isaac Bonga during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Oct. 22, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

“Having a voice like Enes Kanter Freedom speaking up for the persecuted Church also sends a message of peace and unity to Muslims both in the United States and abroad,” she said.

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Freedom, who legally added his new last name when he became a U.S. citizen last year, co-wrote a Sept. 14 commentary in which he decried those who remain silent about worldwide oppression.

“From Uyghur Muslims in China who are imprisoned and forced into concentration camps to Christian schoolgirls murdered in public in Nigeria, all people of all faiths are entitled to the same rights, dignity and respect,” he wrote in the Fox News opinion piece with Tina Ramirez, a former policy adviser for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.