Enes Kanter Freedom to address International Religious Freedom Summit 2022

May. 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit is pleased to announce professional basketball player and activist Enes Kanter Freedom will join this year’s lineup of speakers.

Kanter has been a leading voice against human rights abuses, particularly in his home country of Turkey and in China. In 2021 he led a rally in favor of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, a bill that restricts trade from regions where the Chinese government has systematically oppressed minorities such as Uyghurs and Kazakhs. He also has made news for wearing basketball shoes with human rights messages, such as calling for the boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics and criticizing companies that benefit from business with China.

Kanter’s outspokenness has come at a cost. Turkey revoked his citizenship in 2017 and China retaliated against his activism by censoring NBA games in the country, but he has remained undaunted. In 2021 he became an American citizen and legally changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

“Being silent when you can speak up is a crime,” Kanter Freedom said during his recent address at the United Nations.

The IRF Summit 2022 is the second annual gathering of international freedom advocates and activists from around the world. It will highlight increasing threats to freedom of religion, conscience and belief, and it will once again offer the IRF community a chance to come together to advance shared goals for extending these fundamental freedoms to people and faith communities across the globe.

The Summit is convened by Sam Brownback, former U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, and Dr. Katina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. It is supported by more than 40 diverse partners, including the IRF Secretariat, Religious Freedom Institute, Uyghur Human Rights Project, American Hindu Foundation, Open Doors, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, among others, and aims to bring greater attention to religious freedom violations and to create a powerful coalition of groups to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.

It will take place Tuesday, June 28 through Thursday, June 30 in Washington, D.C. A full list of speakers is available here.

More information on the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is available here.

Registration and accommodations are available here.

International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is a powerful, broad coalition of religious, human rights and civil society groups that advocate for religious freedom for all people, everywhere at all times.

Samuel Brownback served as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (2018-21) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett is president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.