(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/15/13) — Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), today issued a video appeal in Arabic calling for the release of Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, who has been missing and presumed kidnapped in Syria.
“May God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.
“In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
“On behalf of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and American Muslims, we call on the kidnappers of Father Paulo Dall'Oglio — the 'priest of the revolution' as the Syrians have been calling him — we call on his kidnappers to release him as soon as possible. And we call on them to spare the life of Father Paulo Dall'Oglio and to treat him well, in accordance with Islamic and Muslim ethics.
“I have known Father Paulo Dall'Oglio through his constant efforts supporting the Syrian people. I met him in Washington, D.C., in the United States during his distinguished panel discussion in support of the Syrian people and their revolution.
“We remind Paulo Dall'Oglio's kidnappers that he was among the first to stand against the oppression of the Syrian people and that he supported their revolution and risked his life for the sake of the Syrian people. He was among the first to call for freedom for this injured nation, which led the Syrian regime to expel him from Syria for several years, and he did not return to Syria until the revolutionaries had freed parts of Syria.
“Father Dall'Oglio was and is among the strongest people and voices who rejected the partition of Syria. He called for the unity of the Syrian people.
“Father Dall'Oglio is not an enemy to anyone. He is a friend to the Syrian people and a supporter of their revolution and legitimate rights. Therefore I repeat my appeal and call for his release as soon as possible. And I call on those who watch this video to distribute it widely in a collaborative effort to save Father Dall'Oglio's life and secure his release.
“May God reward you with good, and peace be upon you.”
Last year, CAIR and the Syrian American Council (SAC) sponsored a discussion on the situation in Syria with Father Dall'Oglio, the patron of Mar Musa monastery and a leader in interfaith dialogue in Syria.
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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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org