WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Coptic Solidarity is deeply saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of Reverend Keith Roderick in Springfield, Illinois on March 10th. We extend our condolences to his family and friends and those who worked with him over the past three decades to defend the human rights of oppressed people around the world, particularly in the Muslim world.
Roderick started his human rights career advocating for dissidents in the Soviet Union as the director of the Society of St. Stephen. His lifetime commitment to the liberty struggle made him a modern day hero. His kindness, sacrifice, and relentless work on behalf of the weak, persecuted and tortured around the globe made a personal impact in the lives of many worldwide.
Reverend Keith Roderick helped found the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) in 1993, which was the very first US based coalition to speak on behalf of the persecuted around the world. He served as the Secretary General of the CDHR which is composed of a consortium of over fifty-five organizations working together to champion the rights of minorities living in Islamic countries. Members of the Coalition include Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Assyrians, Armenians, Bahai, Copts, Lebanese, Indonesians, Iranians, Pakistanis, Indians, Sudanese, Nigerians, and others.
He tirelessly defended the Copts and participated in their rights campaigns. In 2013, he became a member of the Coptic Solidarity Advisory Council.
Rev. Roderick provided testimony to both the US House and Senate on religious freedom and human rights concerns of non-Muslim minorities in Islamic countries. Roderick was interviewed and published articles on minorities in the Middle East for national and international media. His efforts drove many related initiatives, bills, resolutions, and declarations.
Rev. Roderick was an Episcopal priest of the Diocese of Springfield, presently serving as Dean and Rector of St. Andrew's Church in Carbondale. He was formerly the Director of Spoon River College in Macomb, Illinois and taught religion and philosophy for fifteen years. He founded the Society of St. Stephen in 1982 that worked on behalf of religious prisoners of conscience and their families in the former Soviet Union. He served as Christian Solidarity International's representative in Washington, D.C. until 2009. He served as the Co-Director of the International Task Force, Executive Director of the Sudan Campaign, and Co-Chaired the Coalition to Save Iraq's Christians and Other Defenseless Minorities. Roderick served on the Board of Directors/Advisors of several NGOs.
Rev. Roderick leaves a legacy of sacrifice and tireless effort on behalf of those being denied religious freedom and basic human rights. He will be remembered with gratitude for his tireless efforts and wonderful family.
Coptic Solidarity is non-profit organization dedicated to leading efforts to achieve equal citizenship for the Copts in Egypt. For more information, contact Hal Meawad 240-644-5153 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Coptic Solidarity