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Steven Snyder, advocate for Christian freedom, dies

WASHINGTON (BP)–Steven L. Snyder, recognized as a pioneer voice against Christian persecution worldwide, died Aug. 27 of an infection. He was 54.

Snyder, the founder and president of International Christian Concern, devoted his life to serving Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith. His efforts were applauded by government officials, members of Congress and church leaders around the world.

An evangelical minister, the San Diego native began his work as an advocate for Christians as the U.S. director of Christian Solidarity International, focusing on persecution under communism. In 1995, his efforts expanded to include persecution in Islamic countries.

“Steve was a foot soldier for religious freedom,” said Tom Phar, director of international religious liberty at the State Department in an interview with The Washington Times. “He traveled the world working on behalf of people being persecuted for their faith. He was an effective advocate and a good friend.”

John V. Hanford III, U.S. ambassador at large for religious liberty, told The Times Snyder was diligent in his efforts.

“He stayed with it despite the constant discouragement that comes with human rights work,” Hanford said.

In an interview that appeared in the June 2001 edition of Light Magazine, a publication of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Snyder urged Christians to involve themselves in persecution issues.

“As Christians we must go to our knees in prayer,” he said. “We must raise our voice to our governments and speak up on behalf of these Christians, demanding that there be justice….”

Snyder is survived by his wife, Connie, and four children. Funeral services are scheduled for Aug. 31 at Immanuel’s Church in Silver Spring, Md.

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