Thursday, July 22, 2004

MPAC statement on Darfur

I think MPAC has come out with the strongest statement so far by a mainstream muslim organization  on Darfur. So far, they are the only one to have responded to my emails. I quote

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Humanitarian Crisis in the Sudan

MPAC Calls on American Muslims to Assist in Relief to Murder Victims in Sudan

July 20, 2004 – The tragedy unfolding in the Sudan demands the attention of all people of conscience. At least 30,000 Sudanese have been killed in Darfur, and human rights groups report that the number could reach as much as 350,000 if aid does not reach 2 million people in the region soon. Rights groups and aid workers also report that with the spread of cholera, malaria and other infectious diseases, almost 1 million people could be killed in Darfur by the end of the year.

Human Rights Watch said yesterday it had evidence that the government of Sudan has armed the militia called the "Janjaweed", who are responsible for the killings and the mass rapes of "black Africans" in the South. Arab tribes have been in conflict with the "black Africans" in the south over resources such as land and water in the Darfur region.

Both parties in this conflict are Muslim.

Reuters reports that militants are using mass rape as a weapon against the people of Darfur. Amnesty International wrote, "Arab militants in Sudan are gang-raping and abducting girls as young as eight and women as old as 80, systematically killing, torturing, or using them as sex slaves"

Reporter Declan Walsh, writing for ZNet on April 27, 2004, describes the scene in Darfur this way:

"Aging Russian Arnovs sweep over the remote Sudanese villages, dispatching their crude payload of barrel bombs [spent oil drums now packed with explosives and metal shards] next come the Janjaweed, a fearsome Arab militia [which the government insists on calling "soldiers"] mounted on camels and horses, and armed with AK-47 rifles and whips. They murder the men and boys of fighting age, gang-rape the women--sometimes in front of their families--and burn the houses."

The following is another report of the atrocities as told by a villager to Amnesty International in August of 2003:

"It was early in the morning, people were sleeping. About 400 armed people cordoned the village, with military uniforms, the same ones worn by the army, with vehicles and guns. A plane came later, to see if the operation was successful. At least 82 people were killed during the first attack. Some were shot and others, such as children and elderly, were burnt alive in their houses."

MPAC decries the fact that since the perpetrator of this crime is indirectly the Sudanese government, it has escaped criticism from the Arab League and from the OIC. The Arab League and the OIC, joined by the international community, should publicly and loudly condemn this violence and call for a war-crimes tribunal.

The Sudanese government is responsible for this gruesome tragedy, and MPAC calls on the government of Sudan to halt the violence and compensate the victims to the fullest extent possible. Refugees should be returned to their homes, humanitarian goods should be allowed to flow freely into the country, and all those responsible for this human catastrophe should be punished to the full extent of the law.

MPAC is asking fellow American Muslims to write to the Embassy of Sudan, expressing concern about this terrible humanitarian catastrophe. From a human rights and an Islamic perspective, the situation in Darfur is reprehensible and can not go unchallenged.

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan, 2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008, Tel: (202) 338-8565, Fax: (202) 667-2406

To donate money to help the relief effort, visit Islamic Relief at:

http://www.islamicrelief.com/

And click on "donate here" on the left.


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Though we should have done more earlier, it is better late than never. So please write to the Sudanese embassy. Also, try to pressure your mainstream muslim organization to do more.
 


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