GROUPS CALL ON ARAB SUMMIT TO:
Pull out Syria from Lebanon
Self Determination for South Sudan
Ethnic and Cultural Rights to Copts, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs
Religious Freedom to Christians and others in Saudi Arabia
Washington DC, March 26, 2002
A Coalition of US-based Middle East ethnic groups addressed a letter to the Arab League summit in Beirut, calling the regional organization to meet the demands of the "second largest group on the Arab World, i.e. the 18 million Christians." The Mideast Christians in the US numbers around 2.3 million, the largest American community with direct Middle East roots. The release issued in Washington, is being distributed via all organizations affiliated. Find below the text of the letter.
MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIAN COMMITTEE - MECHRIC
Washington DC MECHRIC@aol.com
March 26, 2002
LETTER TO THE ARAB SUMMIT IN BEIRUT
To the attention of the Highness and Honorable Kings and Presidents
Arab Summit -Beirut
On behalf of our organizations, which represent ethnic and national communities from the Middle East, we wish to raise the following matters:
1. Our mother nationalities in the region includes up to 18 million people, including the Copts of Egypt, the Africans of South Sudan, the Maronites and other Christians of Lebanon, the Assyro-Chaldeans and Syriacs of Iraq as well as Christian communities in Palestine, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula. Our peoples combined constitute the single largest non-Arab population living under Arab regimes. Yet, it is a fact that when twenty -two Arab states meet, they exclude representatives of significant segments of the populations.
2. The Middle East Christian communities are native ethnicities, which preceded the Arab conquest of the region. They were the original owners of the land outside the Arabian Peninsula. They have been submitted to oppression and Dhimmi status for 13 centuries. And today, when the Arab regimes meet to discuss the region's affairs, they act as if the Middle East Christians do not exist.
3. On the Arab Leagues agenda, three Arab issues have been advanced: The state Palestine, the question of Iraq and the issue of Islamist Terrorism. Yet the national tragedies of the Mideast Christians were not put on the agenda.
Therefore, on behalf of our mother communities in the region and of their Diaspora worldwide we demand from the Arab Summit the following:
A Lebanon: The immediate withdrawal of the Syrian occupation Army from the country and the release of all political prisoners.
B. Sudan: The withdrawal of the Sudanese army and militias from Southern Sudan, and the recognition of the right of the Southern Sudanese people for self-determination. As well as the liberation of all slaves.
C. Egypt: The recognition of the Copts as a national minority, the cessation of their persecution and the establishment of an internationally based status of representation and protection.
D. Syria: Cessation of cultural and political oppression of the Syriacs.
E. Iraq: Cessation of cultural and political oppression of the Christians in the country and the recognition of the right of the Assyrian People for self-determination in the North
E. Palestine: Cessation of harassment and persecution by Islamist Fundamentalists of the Christian communities, and the restitution of Bethlehem to a Palestinian Christian autonomous authority.
F. Saudi Arabia: Condemnation of the religious Apartheid regime in the Kingdom, and call on the Government to recognize and protect religious Freedom to Christians and all other religious groups.
G. We praise the Governments of Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, the Emirates, Qatar and Morocco for the level of tolerance and legal protection they grant Christian communities in their countries.
American Coptic Association
US Copts Association
Assyrian Universal Alliance
Syriac Democratic Gathering
Aramaic Democratic Organization
South Sudan Movement
Christian Copts of California
Chaldean National Congress
Beth Nahrain National Organization
World Maronite Union
World Lebanese Organization