Support the Protection of Religious Minorities

Libyan Rebels Edge Toward Shari’a Law

You are all aware of the armed conflict occurring in the nation of Libya. Over the past months and weeks the West watched ‘freedom-loving’ revolutionaries push back the forces of the socialist dictator Moammar Gadhafi. However, as with the rest of the Arab Spring movements, the Libyan movement contains strongly Islamist elements.

While the total number of extremists among the Libyan revolutionaries cannot be verified, this article in the Wall Street Journal notes the presence of Islamic extremists in key military posts responsible for training and commanding the rebels.

No one, at least in the human rights community, denies the injustice and human rights violations committed by Gadhafi’s regime. However, Jubilee Campaign fears that any government set up along Islamic principles will prove to be no better than the dictatorship.

A potential draft for the Libyan Constitution released online explicitly affirms Shari’a as the “principle source of legislation.” The validity of this Constitutional draft cannot be confirmed, and it will be some time before Libya can conduct a vote to ratify this or any other Constitution. Nevertheless, this represents a dangerous way to begin the discussion on the future of Libyan governance.

While a successful revolution in Libya may ease the repression of the general populace, basing the laws of a nation on Shari’a tilts the playing field in favor of Islamic extremists. The best case scenario looks something like Iraq or Afghanistan. Unfortunately, despite heavy American involvement in those countries, discrimination and violence against Christians continues and extremism is on the rise.

The situation in Libya highlights the need for a Special Envoy to the Middle East. The powerful forces unleashed by the Arab Spring represent the best hope for genuine freedom and democracy that we have seen in the Middle East for decades. Unfortunately, the trend appears to be moving away from that noble end.

Libya is only one example of the critical need for focus on this issue in this region at this time. The House version of this Bill HR 440 passed 402 to 20. Now we desperately need action on the Senate side.

Once again we ask you to contact your Senator and ask them to support S. 1245 Full Text Here.
Mail in the sample letter below or use it as a script when you call. Feel free to personalize the letter.

As the Congressional recess draws to a close we ask you to contact the the staffers responsible for this issue both in the office your senators and in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. We need this issue to be place on the Committee soon after the recess so that it can be sent to the Senate floor with enough time to vote on the bill.

Here is the contact information for the Committee
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
446 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6225

Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651
Minority Phone: (202) 224-6797

We encourage you to reach out and discuss how the situation in Libya specifically requires this bill.

In HIS Grace
Ann Buwalda
Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign
Sample Letter to Senators

Senator ____________

I am greatly concerned about the future of human rights and religious freedom in Libya. No one denies the injustice and human rights violations committed by Gadhafi’s regime. However, I fear that any government set up along Islamic principles will prove to be no better than the dictatorship. The presence of Islamic extremists in key military posts within the Libyan rebel forces and the proposed Libyan Constitution citing Shari’a as the source of all legislation represent dangerous trends for freedom and genuine democracy.

The failure of the US government to meaningfully advocate for religious minorities prompted the the “Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2011.” Senators Roy Blunt and Carl Levin introduced introduced this bill in the Senate as S. 1245. It has already passed the House 402 to 20 in a massive showing of bipartisan support.

As my Senator, I would like to ask to you to support this Bill. If the governments of the Middle East become controlled by Islamists, it will harm both the religious minorities in these countries and the ability of the United States to combat terrorism both abroad and at home. I ask that you do everything in your power to support freedom and genuine democracy including religious freedom.

Your Name