Search
  • FoRB Roundtable

Joint letter: ISIS genocide

To Mr Donald Tusk

President of the European Council

To All members of the European Council

General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 175 B-1048 Brussels Belgium


Brussels, the 30th of November 2014


Dear Mr President,


Dear members of the European Council,


We write as an informal group of organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious leaders, human rights advocates and practitioners to urge you to set immediate and long-term goals for intervention in the Syrian-Iraqi conflict—to protect Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities and stop the crimes against humanity that threaten their lives and fundamental rights. This is necessary to fulfil your commitments as European Union members to intervene to protect victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.


We work to assist people, our governments, foreign governments, and international bodies in supporting international freedom of religion or belief and the elimination of extremism and intolerance. We are committed to freedom of religion or belief for all peace-loving persons in all nations, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, and political affiliation, without surrendering our fervent devotion to the truth claims that undergird our own religious or philosophical convictions. We hope that this commitment will become an important aspect of the policies of the EU in both Syria and Iraq.


We are horrified and anguished by the daily reports of atrocities against defenceless minorities that have continued for three long years in Syria, without effective intervention by the EU or the world community, and that are now sweeping through Iraq as well. Tens of thousands have been killed or injured, and millions have been displaced from their ancestral homes and lands. Beheadings, crucifixions, massacres of men, women, and children of all ages, sexual assaults and enslavement, forced conversions, and destruction of places of worship are daily events. Worse, the perpetrators shamelessly publicize their gruesome deeds and use them as recruiting tools.


The primary perpetrators are the self-styled “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra), and similar extremist groups. They claim to be waging a religious war against “infidels” in the name of God, with a particular focus on Christians, other religious and ethnic minorities, and Shiites. But they also target Sunnis who reject their ideology and behaviour. Regretfully, it took ISIS exporting to Iraq these horrors they have been perpetrating in Syria for over three years to finally galvanize the international community to recognize the nature of this threat.


ISIS must be confronted in both Syria and Iraq if largely defenceless religious and ethnic minorities are to be saved from this brutal campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing. ISIS recognizes no national boundaries in this conflict. It will quickly retreat to inflict greater harm on Syrian minorities if it is driven from Iraq. It has made clear its plans to export its monstrous ideology and methodology worldwide, specifically to Europe, the United States, and countries throughout the MENA region.


With full knowledge of the enormous challenges of bringing peace to this region, we wish to give you our views on the religious aspects of the conflict and the positive and essential role that religious and ethnic communities and their advocates can play in supporting peace efforts by the EU, its members and other governments.


Specifically, we urge you to take the following steps:


1. Acknowledge the religious dimensions of the conflict and ensure that special attention and policy direction on these issues is part of an overall European strategy to bring peace to the region, including a plan to counter the ideology used by radical extremists, because religious principles should be a foundation for peace instead of conflict.


2. Use EU and EU member states’ governments diplomatic, humanitarian, refugee, freedom of religion or belief, and human rights resources to help establish a lasting peace, interfaith tolerance, and civil societies, which are essential to on-going stability and which military action alone cannot produce.


3. Enlist EU representatives of affected religious and ethnic groups and freedom of religion or belief and civil society advocates as participants and resources that can contribute ideas and work with religious and ethnic communities in the region and throughout the world to support these efforts.


4. Have EU member states provide immediate and targeted military assistance, humanitarian aid, safe havens, and refugee assistance to protect defenceless Syrian and Iraqi minorities.


5. Condition all EU and EU member states’ assistance to those fighting the extremist militants (governmental and non-governmental) on their agreement to: (a) protect and assist all religious and ethnic communities, particularly minorities, during the conflict; (b) support meaningful representation by minority groups in peace talks; and (c) allow minorities to obtain full political and civil rights in post-conflict government structures.


6. Isolate and identify all religious extremists and members of ISIS and similar groups, hold those responsible for crimes against humanity publicly accountable in regional tribunals to make clear that their actions will not be tolerated by the world community, and ensure that religious and faith-based groups have access to re-educate those indoctrinated by religious extremists to pursue peace and respect for all faiths and convictions.


7. Support the restoration of displaced minorities to their ancestral homes and lands and develop a program for compensating them for the enormous human and economic toll inflicted by the extremists, preferably funded by ISIS and similar groups, and for freeing hostages, slaves, trafficked women and children, and others from captivity by extremists, including those that may have been transported to other parts of the world, and provide expanded immigration opportunities for those too traumatized to remain in the region.


We are a truly multi-faith group of organizations and individuals, representing a high degree of diversity. We all agree on the importance of freedom of religion or belief for all faiths and none. We stand ready to assist in implementation of the points in this proposal, particularly in the formation of a multi-religious coalition to combat and refute the religious ideas perpetrated by ISIS and similar groups and promote freedom of religion or belief and tolerance.


Respectfully,


ORGANIZATIONS


AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY OF BELGIUM


ASSYRIAN AID SOCIETY OF AMERICA


ASSYRIAN AID SOCIETY OF IRAQ


ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE RESEARCH CENTER


ALL FAITH NETWORK – UK


AMERICAN EZIDI CENTER


AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION


BRITISH BOARD OF HINDU SCHOLARS


CARE FOR EUROPE


CHURCH OF SCICENTOLOGY NATIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICE


EASTBOURNE LIBERAL JEWISH CONGREGATION - UK


EUROPEAN COORDINATION FOR FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE


EUROPEAN FEDERATION FOR FREEDOM OF BELIEF


EUROPEAN INTERRELIGIOUS FORUM FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM


FAMILY FEDERATION FOR WORLD PEACE AND UNIFICATION


FORUM FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM EUROPE


FREEMUSLIM, CENTER FOR DE-RADICALIZATION AND EXTREMISM PREVENTION


GERARD NOODT FOUNDATION


HAMMURABI HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION


HELSINKI COMMITTEE OF ARMENIA


INSTITUTE ON RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY


INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN


INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM


IRAQI CHRISTIAN RELIEF COUNCIL


KURDISH HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH


THE LOKAHI FOUNDATION - UK


NATIONAL COUNCIL OF HINDU TEMPLES – UK


NETHERLANDS SIKH OVERLEG PLATFORM


OUR LADY OF DELIVERANCE SYRIAC CATHOLIC DIOCESE


RUSSIAN ORTHODOX AUTONOMOUS CHURCH OF AMERICA


SHIA RIGHTS WATCH


SHIRAZI FOUNDATION – DC


SIKH SOCIETY NETHERLANDS


SOTERIA INTERNATIONAL


UNITED MACEDONIAN DIASPORA


UNIVERSAL PEACE FEDERATION IN THE NETHERLANDS


UNIVERSAL MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


WISBECH INTERFAITH FORUM – UK


WORLD AHLUL BAYT ISLAMIC LEAGUE - UK


Individuals


Fr. Æthelwine

York St John University


C Naseer Ahmad


Mustafa Akhwand

Executive Director

Shia Rights Watch


Dr Ali Hasan Al-Shamari

Iraq-ANajaf Council

Head of Committee on Health and Environment


Stephen Baskerville

Professor of Government

Patrick Henry College


Bar ten Broek

Secretary

United Religions Initiative Netherlands


Jeff Gardner

Founder and Photographer

Picture Christians Project


Petar Grammatikov

Hierodeacon of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Vice President - Bridges NGO


Katharine C. Gorka

President

Council on Global Security


Prof. Gwen Griffith-Dickson

Director

The Lokahi Foundation


Yousif Habash

Most Reverend Bishop

Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese


Lauren B. Homer

Homer International Law

Law and Liberty Trust


Martha Hudson

One World Medical Mission


Dr. Joel C. Hunter

Senior Pastor

Northland - A Church Distributed 


Mirza Ismail

Chairman

Yezidi Human Rights Organization – International


James Issakhani

President

Assyrian Genocide Research Center, Seyfo Center


Amjad Mahmood Khan

National Director of Public Affairs

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA


Jeff King

President

International Christian Concern


Greg Mitchell

President

The Mitchell Firm


Scott Morgan

President

Red Eagle Enterprises


Paul Moynan

Director

CARE for Europe


Sayyed-Mohammad Musawi

Chairman

World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League


Hans Noot

President

Gerard Noodt Foundation


Max Primorac

Former Senior Advisor

Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs, US Department of State


Prof. Dr. Rainer Rothfuß

Arbeitsgruppe Humangeographie (HuGe)

Geographisches Institut - Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen


Eric Roux

Chairman

EIFRF


J.Sekhri

President

Indian Association of Belgium


Satish K Sharma

General Secretary

National Council of Hindu Temples


Roy Speckhardt

Executive Director

American Humanist Association


William Spence Spencer Executive Director Institute for International Law and Human Rights


Morgana Sythove

Chairwoman

Pagan Federation International


Juliana Taimoorazy 

Founder and President 

Iraqi Christian Relief Council 


Pascale Warda

President

Hammurabi Human Rights Organization


Martin Weightman

Director

All Faiths Network


William C. Walsh

Human Rights Attorney

Bisceglie and Walsh


Ali Akram Zainalbden

Turkmen Rescue Foundation

7 views

Recent Posts

See All

Re: EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

Brussels, the 4 February 2019 To: all members of the EU Parliament Cc: Mr. Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion Dear Member of the European Parliament, We are writing to recommend that

Re: Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

📷 To the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan copies to: UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief Brussels, the 23 July 2019 Re:

The information you provide in this form will be used solely to include you in our regular newsletter about the activities of the FoRB Roundtable Brussels-EU. Your data will be stored by us and not shared with third parties. Please be aware that if you later decide to withdraw consent to your contact details being used by us, you just have to send us an explicit email à contact (at) forbroundtable.org