Thursday, May 2, 2013

Call to Prayer for Syria: The Istanbul Statement

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

FAIRFAX, VA (ANS) -- Jubilee Campaign, a member of the Religious Liberty Partnership, is calling for an International Day of Prayer for Syria.

According to an email from the Jubilee Campaign's Ann Buwalda, on April 15, Jubilee Campaign and other religious liberty organizations in the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) released a statement on the crisis in Syria.

The statement asks the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria to pay extra concern for "vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities," and calls for a designated day of prayer for the country. It is called the Istanbul Statement on the Church in Syria.

To read the statement in its entirety go to

Mervyn Thomas, chairman of the RLP, and CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK, said in a statement, "There was overwhelming support at our 2013 Consultation in Istanbul to speak out about the urgent situation facing Christians and other religious minorities in Syria at this present time."

He added, "We urge Christian leaders around the world to respond to this call to prayer and action now in order to bring peace and stability to this troubled nation."

Jubilee Campaign said the statement expresses concern for Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities attempting to leave Syria. It calls on the international community to "provide sufficient protection for all ethnic and religious communities as well as their historical, religious, and cultural sites."

According to the statement, drafted during the annual gathering of member organizations held in Istanbul in late March, the RLP commits "to raise awareness and work toward a peaceful solution of the current crisis, including reconciliation among the various ethnic and religious communities; and to utilize practices that prioritize the well-being of all Syrians when providing assistance and advocating on behalf of the vulnerable."

Jubilee Campaign is a part of the RLP, which is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations from over 20 countries focused on religious liberty. The RLP seeks for organizations to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy, assistance, and in raising the awarene ss of religious liberty issues globally.

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