CAIR Joins in Call for No-Fly Zone to Protect Syrian Civilians
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/4/2015) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined Syrian-American and other Muslim groups in calling on the Obama administration to immediately establish a no-fly zone in Syria to protect civilians from ongoing aerial attacks.
In a statement prepared for a news conference to call for immediate action on the Syrian crisis held this morning at the civil rights group’s Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C., CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in part: (Actual remarks may differ from the prepared text.)
“Earlier this month, air strikes by the Assad regime killed more than 100 people shopping at a market in Douma. That massacre was just one of countless others carried out by this brutal dictatorship since 2011, when the Syrian people began their peaceful fight for freedom.
“The destruction of Syria and the death and displacement of its people are of great concern to the American Muslim community, and should be of concern to the entire world community.
“According to the United Nations, the Syrian conflict has resulted is the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II. More Muslims are currently being killed and displaced in Syria than in any other place on earth.
“The American and international response to the suffering of the Syrian people remains woefully inadequate. Europe is now feeling the impact of that inadequate response in the form of a wave of refugees fleeing for their lives.
“Delivery of humanitarian aid is frequently blocked from reaching Syrian communities in desperate need of that assistance. Humanitarian aid workers and medical personnel are intentionally detained and killed as a form of collective punishment, while mass atrocities perpetrated against civilians continue to escalate.
“In one of the earliest revelations in the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, God condemned the withholding of humanitarian assistance by condemning those who refuse to share the necessities of life. (Chapter 107, The Holy Quran)
“The world can no longer ignore the suffering of the Syrian people or its obligation to assist those who are being daily displaced, tortured, starved, raped, and killed. The unwillingness to protect civilians and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid in Syria is creating conditions that facilitate the rise of extremist and terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda. If left unaddressed, extremism and terrorism will only grow.
“We urge American Muslims and all people of conscience to contact their elected representatives and the Obama administration to push for the United States to work with key allies to immediately establish and enforce one or more no-fly zones in Syria.
“These zones would be an effective way to protect civilians from attack, provide essential protection for displaced Syrian civilians and offer a safe transit route for desperately needed humanitarian supplies. They would also allow many refugees to return to Syria and thereby relieve pressure on neighboring countries struggling to cope with an unrelenting exodus.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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