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Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights

Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights

195 Jamestown Road
Macomb, IL 61455
309-836-2809 hr@macomb.com

26 November 2001

PRESS RELEASE

(Alexandria, VA) Dramatic accounts of detention, torture and death highlighted the recent symposium sponsored by the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, held in Alexandria, VA on November 16-17. Participants received updates on the results of radical Islamism from such wide-ranging locations as Nigeria and Indonesia.

Fr. Keith Roderick, D.D. introduced the theme of the symposium, "Challenges of Islamism", by describing Islamism as a movement that thrives on conflict and is racist, supremacist and discriminatory. The U.S. has become a recent front for Islamism's Jihad, but there are many other fronts. He then introduced the panelists who would speak on those other fronts.

Mr. Walter Engelen, Executive Director, Maluku Watch network spoke on the Jihad that is being waged in Maluku and Poso against the Christian population of 50 million. He described how the infusion of Laskar Jihad joined by Abu Sayef in Philippines others upset the traditional coexistence balance and now threatened massacre and the cleansing of the Christian population under the process of Islamizing the region. 50,000 Christians are immediately threatened in the district of Posu, Central Sulawesi by Jihad forces.

Fr. Aham Norom, Ph.D. spoke on behalf of the Biafra Foundation. He called the Islamization of Nigeria a "quiet holocaust." Christians are a majority in Nigeria and yet in respect of politics, economics and the military they are treated as a minority. He noted that of the 40 million Igbos, nearly ½ have been forced to emigrate because of discrimination and persecution. The Muslim dominated military of Nigeria benefits from the resources, including oil, from Christian lands. Fr. Norom called Biafra a state coming back to life.

Mr. Dileep Karanth representing the Human Rights Council for Bangladesh Minorities Spoke about the effects of Islamization on minorities in Bangladesh, noting that the minorities have been cleansed in a large scale. The minority population has shrunk from 33% of the population in 1941 to 15% in 2001. Recent campaigns of violence have resulted in over 1,000 murdered, 15,000 Hindu girls raped, 500 temples destroyed and over 80,000 refugees fleeing to India.

Mr. Nassar Sid Ahmed Yessa, Foreign Secretary of the underground anti-slavery group called SOS Slaves, spoke from his experience as a member of the Arabo-Berber class of Mauritania whose family were slave holders. He described how around 1000 A. D. the Arab and Berber tribes came south to Islamize the Africans. When the Africans resisted Islamization, they were enslaved. This began centuries of chattel slavery that has not ended. After being exposed intellectually to writings of the French Revolution and studying the Holocaust his perspective was transformed. He is known as a human rights leader, an abolitionist and as an activist for democracy and respect for universal human rights. He said that the best way to struggle for freedom was to pursue equality and just treatment for all religions in a multi-confessional society.

Dr. Walid Phares, President of the World Lebanese Organization and Secretary- General of MECHRIC summarized the important issues raised during the symposium. He stated, the war against terrorist needs to be waged intellectually against the terrorist factories, the schools and media that are the vehicles for the spread of Islamism. He called upon the Coalition to work for the adoption of the concept of Jihad as an international crime against humanity. He concluded with a reminder of the need for solidarity with the oppressed, the other voices or other fronts in the war against Islamic terrorism. These other voices are not insignificant. In the so-called Islamic world the number of Christians and Jews number over 240 million.

Following the Symposium the Coalition held its annual meeting and passes a series of resolutions.

· In response to the failure of the World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Discrimination, sponsored by the U.N at Durban South Africa in August, 2001 to deal with the destructive effects of Islamism, a form of religio-ethnic racism, upon the populations living under the dominance of its ideology; and, the voices of countless groups who have suffered under regimes and movements influenced by Islamism were unheard. 240 million minorities continue to be threatened by expanding persecution and discrimination in 31 Islamic countries, the Coalition called for an international congress to hear the " other voices" to be held in 2003. It recommended that such a congress that would include broad representation of leaders from religious, cultural, political and economic institutions of the people who have lived under dhimmitude. The congress is envisioned as a forum to establish constructive agendas that will contribute to the building of free and equal societies, to secure the safety and well-being of minority communities, to preserve their cultural integrity, to advocate for women being allowed full participation in all aspects of society and insure that children are educated with the values of equality and tolerance.

· The Coalition endorsed a call for a Washington D.C. Memorial Freedom Rally on the Mall in September 2002 to draw attention to the plight of slaves in Sudan and Mauritania and the oppressed under Islamization in other parts of the world

· The Coalition called for freedom of religion for the citizens of Bangladesh, and for the right of its Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian minorities to live in dignity and as equal citizens. It also called upon the Indonesian government to intercede to stop the expansion and forced Islamization by Fundamentalist Muslims and Jihad, especially in Moluccas and Poso, Central Sulawesi. The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights declared its support for Biafran-Igbo in their struggle for basic human rights; and that, the Nigerian state cease and desist from persecuting Biafran-Igbo Christians ,

· The Coalition also expressed its opposition to having the Christian holy sites of Jerusalem under the authority of a future Palestinian state. The Coalition advocates that the status quo in regards to the status of an undivided Jerusalem be preserved.
 


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