INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ROUNDTABLE

October 11, 2019
The Honorable Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Do Not Abandon the People of Northeast Syria!


Dear President Trump:

We urge you to reconsider and reverse your decision of October 6 allowing Turkey to invade the Self-Administration of Northeastern Syria (SANES). It was deeply shocking to us as advocates for international religious freedom. SANES is a rare example of success for US military intervention post-911—a showcase for religious freedom and democracy.

Its people are Christians, Kurds, Yazidis, Arab Muslims, and other minorities. Kurds are a minority of the SANES population, although leaders on the battlefront. The proposed invasion zone includes key historic Syriac Christian towns and churches, all Kurdish majority towns, most of the SANES population, and key administrative and education centers.

Turkey’s plans are clear: exterminate the entire SDF (our military allies), drive current residents out, and replace them. Just like Afrin in 2018, it will commit genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against women, seize homes and businesses, impose Islamist rule. Christians are specifically targeted for slaughter, not protection. The invading forces are a jihadi army–hardened Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters. Their battlecry is sectarian: “We are the Army of Mohammed;” “free our brothers”–ISIS fighters. The bloodbath has already begun. The dead include civilians and children. The home of a Christian family with a prominent cross outside was an early target. US supplied F-16 fighter jets mercilessly bomb defenders with no planes or anti-craft weapons. Turkey is bombing holding camps for ISIS fighters, who are escaping to fight again.

Turkey’s plans are clear: exterminate the entire SDF (our military allies), drive current residents out, and replace them. Just like Afrin in 2018, it will commit genocide…

Letting Turkey invade sounds the death knell to the hopes of Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and other minorities for religious freedom and equal rights in both Syria and in Iraq. It gravely undercuts the trust they placed in the United States. It undercuts our own trust that this Administration is truly committed to international religious freedom and the survival of religious minorities in the Middle East.

On behalf of all the religious groups in the region that seek freedom and the millions of American people who share their faiths and oppose this decision, we beg you to impose a no-fly zone and take whatever actions you can to stop Turkey’s invasion .

Respectfully,

Lead Organizations
LAW AND LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL
FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL

Additional Organizations
ADVANCEUSA
Dr. Carl Herbster, President

BARZANI CHARITY FOUNDATION
Delovan Barwari

BETHANY CHRISTIAN SERVICES

BETHNAHRIN PATRIOTIC UNION IRAQ

BETHNAHRIN WOMEN UNION

CHRISTIAN FREEDOM INTERNATIONAL
Wendy Wright, President

CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE UK

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY NATIONAL AFFAIRS OFFICE

COPTIC SOLIDARITY

ENDOWMENT FOR MIDDLE EAST TRUTH (EMET)
Sarah N. Stern, Founder and President

EUROPEAN SYRIAC UNION

FAITH & LIBERTY DC

FEDERATION OF SYRIAC ASSOCIATIONS IN TURKEY

FREE YEZIDI FOUNDATION
Pari Ibrahim, President

GLOBAL PEACE FOUNDATION
Bishop Dr. Paul Murray, Vice President

HILFE FUER MENSCH UND KIRCHE Switzerland

INDEPENDENT OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH

INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR RIGHTS AND JUSTICE

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN RESPONSE USA

INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM PROGRAM

INSTITUTE ON RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY

JUBILEE CAMPAIGN USA

NORTHWEST RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ASSOCIATION
Gregory W. Hamilton, President

SALLUX (ECPM FOUNDATION)
Johannes de Jong, Director

SIKH DHARMA INTERNATIONAL

SHAI FUND

Charmaine Hedding, President
SOUTH ASIA MINORITIES ALLIANCE FOUNDATION

Nadeem Nusrat, Chairman
SURYOYE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION

SYRIAC NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SYRIA
Bassam Said Ishak, President

TAHRIR ALNISA FOUNDATION, TAF
Naghmeh Panahi, Executive Director

Anne Basham, Director of Government Affairs and Communication
UNIVERSAL SYRIAC UNION PARTY LEBANON

YAZDA
Haider Elias, President

Individuals
Hunter Baker
Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
Union University, Tennessee
Sara Ballenger, President
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
Dee A. Cook
Donor Relations, Indigenous Ministries International
Barry K. Creamer, Ph.D.
President
Criswell College
Rob Collingsworth
Director of External Relations
Criswell College
Dr. William Devlin
CEO, REDEEM! CEO, Widows And Orphans
Trey Dimsdale
Director of Strategic Partnerships
First Liberty Institute
Patricia Duval
International Human Rights Lawyer
Amal Eltayeb
Sudanese-American Activist
Former Senior Central Banker, Bank of Sudan
Eric Gautreaux
Associate Pastor
First Assembly of God of Houma, LA
Rev. Joseph K. Grieboski, DD, FRSA
Secretary for Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Global Engagement
Independent Old Catholic Church
Allen D. Hertzke
David Ross Boyd Professor
University of Oklahoma
Sharon Jones
International Gospel Parade, Inc.
Mahomed Akbar Khan
American Muslim Strategies
Melissa Kelley, Chaplain
David Mikho
Global Peace Foundation–Kurdistan/Iraq
Regina Minor
National Capitol Director
National Director State Capitols
US National Prayer Council
Russell Moore, President
Southern Baptist Ethics &
Religious Liberty Commission
Scott Morgan, President
Red Eagle Enterprises
Michelle A. Morrison, Attorney at Law
John Nunes
President, Concordia College-New York
Former President, Lutheran World Relief
Bob Roberts
Global Senior Pastor
Northwood Church, Dallas
Pat Robertson, Founder
Christian Broadcasting Network
Erin Rodewald
Writer/Author – International Religious Freedom
Rev. Rob Schenck, D.Min., President
The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute
Father Joseph Varghese
Adjunct Professor, Liturgical Studies. Holy Sophia Coptic Orthodox School of Theology.
Executive Director: Institute for Religious Freedom and Tolerance, New York.
Priest: Syrian Orthodox Church
The Rev. Eric Wester
Lutheran Pastor (ELCA), Chaplain (Colonel), US Army (Retired)
Dr Fabong Jemchang Yildam, Chairman
Forum of State Chairmen, National Youth Council of Nigeria
John Zmirak, Ph.D.
Senior Editor, The Stream