Enes Kanter Freedom, a human rights activist and NBA star, is set to be a keynote speaker at this year’s March for the Martyrs.
Freedom is an outspoken activist who has criticized China as well as Turkey’s—his birth country’s—human rights abuses. Due to his activism, Freedom had his passport revoked in 2017. Since then, he hasn’t been allowed to travel home or visit his family and has had international arrest warrants put out for him.
Freedom’s condemnation on and off the basketball court of China’s human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, Tibetians, and Falun Gong practitioners caused the Chinese Communist Party to ban Celtics games in China. Freedom also exposed the deep financial ties between the NBA and China.
In 2021, the basketball player became a U.S. citizen and added “Freedom” to his last name. He was traded from the Celtics to the Rockets in early 2022. The Rockets then waived Freedom, dropping him from the NBA.
Now no longer playing in the NBA, Freedom has devoted his time to promoting peace and respect for human rights all over the world.
Freedom recently traveled to Jerusalem in July to open a multi-faith youth basketball camp. Enes Kanter Freedom Unity Basketball Camp had students from numerous faiths such as Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Druze—all coming together to play basketball.
This is very emotional for me!
I have been planning this basketball camp for years
Today for the first time ever,
I had a basketball camp in Jerusalem.
Muslims,Jews,Christians,ISRAELI and PALESTINIAN kids came together to talk one language,PEACE!
Bringing Peace to Middle East❤️ pic.twitter.com/JJw2sqa8W2
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) July 29, 2022
“Well I think sports, basketball, is an amazing tool to bring kids together because we can be from different backgrounds, different colors, different cultures and religions, but everyone loves sports—especially, obviously basketball and the NBA,” Freedom told i24NEWS. “So, I feel that we need to use this to leave our differences on the table and try to find what we have in common. It’s been an amazing time just sitting out here with the kids and having fun and putting a smile on their faces. It’s priceless.”
In a time of high tensions between religious and ethnic groups in Israel and Palestine, Freedom’s youth basketball camp made its focus singular and simple: Encourage the next generation to pursue peace.
“One message, one simple word, is peace,” Freedom continued in his comments to i24news. “You know, we need to make this world better together. And that’s going to start with peace, that’s going to start with us, and that’s going to start with our kids. So, whenever you’re out there, the one question you have to ask yourself is: ‘What can I do to make this world better with my other brothers and sisters?’”
Me, my Muslim, Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East have a message for the Middle Eastern leaders and the rest of the world!!
Please listen to them very carefully! pic.twitter.com/PQkFSvUNyN
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) August 4, 2022
In addition to the youth basketball camp, Freedom visited the World Holocaust Center and the Western Wall during his trip to Jerusalem.
Yes, as a practicing Muslim,I came to this holy land and stood in front of the western wall & prayed for all of humankind.
Jews,Muslims,Christians,Buddhists, Hindus,Druzes,Israelis & Palestinians.
I prayed for unity,love,peace,health, compassion & mercy for everyone out there. pic.twitter.com/EwvNytoHWN
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) August 1, 2022
He also visited the Armenian Chapel of St. Helena in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to promote peace between Turkey and Armenia.
We’re so excited to have Enes Kanter Freedom as a keynote speaker this year. Register now for this year’s March for the Martyrs in Washington, D.C., and stand in solidarity with the Persecuted Church.
Would you consider giving to make March for the Martyrs 2022 possible? Click here to donate now.