Ex-congressman Sam Gejdenson tapped for U.S. religions commission


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sam Gejdenson, a former congressman who is the child of Holocaust survivors, was named to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The U.S. Congress appointed Gejdenson to the panel this week.

Gejdenson, 63 and a Democrat, represented Connecticut in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 2000. He was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany, and during his years in Congress helped pass legislation targeting human trafficking.

"He will make significant contributions to our work on behalf of the cherished right of freedom of religion or belief and its fuller integration into U.S. foreign policy and national security," Leonard Leo, the USCIRF chairman, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Gejdenson has been active with the American Jewish World Service, a relief body in the Jewish community.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent body, has members appointed by leadership in both houses of Congress.

Gejdenson was named by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House minority leader.

In recent years, the commission has been plagued by allegations that its conservative majority targets mainly Muslim nations and China, and pays little attention to abuses in a number of other countries. 

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