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USCIRF executive director Joe Crapa dies at 63

He led the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom since 2002.

Joseph R. Crapa, the Executive Director of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, died Thursday after a battle with cancer.

"Joe Crapa was a vigilant and earnest defender of human rights who cared passionately about those who were victims of the abuse of power of governments," Michael Cromartie, current chairman of the USCIRF told CT. "He was a leader of a bipartisan commission who was always civil and fair and concerned about justice for the victims of totalitarian regimes, whether those regimes were religious or political."

In the USCIRF's press release, Cromartie notes Crapa's "sharp political instincts but a soft personal touch."

Richard Land, who serves on the commission as vice chair, is also quoted in the press release. "

"It was an honor to serve on the Search Committee that recommended Joe Crapa to be the Executive Director of the Commission," he said. "As a Republican appointee, I was most happy to enthusiastically endorse and commend this faithful Democrat who loved America and loved the freedom for which it stands. He was a tireless proponent of religious freedom around the world and was instrumental in making the Commission an extremely effective voice for religious freedom. It was an honor and a privilege to have known him and served with him. All of us who knew him will miss him."

Crapa's funeral is today at 1 p.m. at St. Peter's Church in Washington, D.C.

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Posted:October 29, 2007 at 9:10AM
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