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Syrian American, Muslim Leaders Meet with White House, Host Press Conference on Russian Airstrikes

NewsConfRussianConf(WASHINGTON, D.C, 10/8/15) – Leaders of the nation’s leading Syrian-American and Muslim advocacy organizations today met with top-ranking White House officials to express concerns over Russia’s recent airstrikes in Syria that resulted in the killings of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure.

At the White House meeting, the leadership discussed the ramifications of the recent bombings and suggested policy recommendations for the protection of civilians and the resettlement of more refugees.

The meeting was followed by a news conference in front of the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., at which the leadership also hand-delivered a letter addressed to the Russian ambassador urging Russian President Putin to rethink his military strategy in Syria.

During the news conference, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “American inaction is giving the green light to Russia to meddle in the Middle East. This will only prolong the life of a dictatorship and play into the hands of ISIS. It will reignite extremes on both sides.â€

SEE: Syrian American Groups Call on Russia to Stop Bombing Their Homeland (Washington Post)

In the letter delivered to the embassy, the Syrian-American and Muslim leadership stated:

“The ongoing Russian military intervention in Syria is not in Russia’s short or long-term interest in the Middle East. Russia will be perceived, and is being perceived, by the majority of Syrians, Arabs and Muslims, as a foreign military power that is helping a brutal regime to massacre its people.

“The current approach in Syria will only lead to more refugees, more terrorism, and more death. . .Russia should use its influence to stop the massacres committed by the Syrian government and to press for a representative and pluralistic government in Syria as a core foundation for any effort to combat terrorism.â€

In an op-ed published yesterday, Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Board Member Zaher Sahloul and MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati cautioned that the current conflict could also escalate into a perceived religious war.

SEE: “Russia’s Holy Warâ€

Other groups represented at the press conference included: Syrian American Medical Society, American Relief Coalition for Syria, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Syrian American Council (SAC), Syria for Relief and Development, United for Free Syria, Syrian Emergency Taskforce, and Karam Foundation.

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MEDIA CONTACTS: Kathleen Fallon, SAMS Advocacy & Communications Manager at (866) 809-9039; Rabiah Ahmed, MPAC Media & Communication Director at (202) 439-1441 or; Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR Communication Director at (202) 744-7726 or; Edgar Hopida, ISNA Communication Director at (317)-679-6350 or;


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