WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christian Solidarity International today called on President Obama to defend the rights of Syria's religious minorities in the face of escalating civil war and sectarian violence.
In a letter to the president, Dr. John Eibner, the CEO of Christian Solidarity International-USA, warned that "Syrian opposition forces increasingly match the Assad regime's disdain for the lives and liberty of the Syrian people, especially Christians and other non-Sunnis, who constitute about 25% of Syria's population."
Eibner cited reports from human rights groups and Syrian church officials that the Islamist-dominated armed opposition has used civilians as human shields and targeted civilians and religious minorities for kidnapping, torture and murder.
Over 90% of the Christians in the Syrian city of Homs, one of the centers of rebel activity, have been forced to flee by Islamic extremists, he said.
Eibner cited former French President Nicholas Sarkozy's warnings about the "religious cleansing" of Christians in the Islamic Middle East, and claimed that "in the past year, Syria has surpassed Iraq as the epicenter of this regional phenomenon."
Eibner also cited the assessment of the UN Secretary-General Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect that "increasing violence and deepening sectarian tensions" in Syria have created a high risk for "mass atrocity crimes."
Eibner recalled President Obama's May 19, 2011 address on the Arab uprisings, in which the president promised that he would use "all the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal" to support religious and political freedom in the Middle East.
Eibner called on Obama to fulfill this promise by openly calling on the Syrian opposition and its regional supporters, the Sunni Islamist states Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, to declare their support for religious liberty, and to present a policy to prevent further atrocities against religious minorities in Syria.
Eibner's letter is available online at: csi-usa.org/iframe/Obamaletter8-1.html
Christian Solidarity International is a Christian human rights group campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity worldwide. In November, CSI issued a Genocide Warning for religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East. CSI is spearheading a petition campaign calling on President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney to prevent the eradication of these vulnerable groups. The petition can be signed at csi-usa.org.
Contact: Joel Veldkamp, 515-421-7258, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Christian Solidarity International (CSI)