For the past week or so, I have been working with Susan Dirgham from “Australians for Reconciliation (Mussalaha) in Syria”. The result has been wide support for this statement, which can be viewed on their website. Here is the media release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Headline: Australians say “NO” to attacking Syria
Sub Heading: Church leaders and prominent Australians urge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis in Syria without military intervention
Location: Melbourne, 8 September 2013
In response to the threat of U.S. military action against the Syrian government, prominent Australians from different faith communities and in public life have added their names to a statement on the webpage of “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria”. http://australiansforreconciliationinsyria.wordpress.com/
Signatories to the statement include: Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart, Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier, Former Prime Minster Malcolm Fraser, Sheikh Riad Galil, Coptic Bishop Suriel, Greek Orthodox Bishop Ezekiel, Julian Burnside and Bryan Dawe.
The statement supports calls by the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other religious leaders for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, without military intervention.
While Australia celebrates its democratic freedom in the outcome of the federal election, the people of Syria anxiously await the outcome of a U.S. proposal for a military strike on their country and wonder if they and their nation will survive.
The signatories to the statement call for further clarification in regard to the chemical attack on 21 August in Damascus, for without more information and proof it is not possible to determine who was responsible for this attack. They express support for the grass-roots Reconciliation (Mussalaha) Movement in Syria, which unites people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds.
The Statement follows similar calls from Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and former UN officials, including Dr. Hans Christof von Sponeck (UN Assistant Secretary General and United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, 1998 -2000) and Dr. Denis J. Halliday (UN Assistant Secretary General, 1994-1998).
The president of Caritas (Catholic Aid Agency) in Syria, the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, has said: “If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war.”
It is hoped that the new Prime Minister of Australia and the new Australian government will heed this call for a peaceful solution. It reflects the views of an increasing number of Australians. The security of Australia ultimately depends on peace in the world, particularly in the Middle East.
ORGANIZATION: “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria” (AMRIS)
Contact details: Dr Fiona Hill, Mobile: 0401 081 677 Mr Joseph Wakim, Mobile: 0407 516 470
Ms Susan Dirgham, Mobile: 0406 500 711
Email: AMRIS.email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org