Press release from US Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders

           Standing Conference of Middle Eastern
Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders

For Immediate Release: September 13, 2001

We were very saddened and shocked, like all American citizens and decent people around the world, by the devastating and horrible attack against the United States of America.

It has come to our attention that some Arab Americans in various cities such as Brooklyn, New York; Paterson, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; Detroit, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California and other cities have been victims of psychological terrorism, i.e. threatening and obscene phone calls, etc.  This is indeed very disturbing and blatant discrimination.  Arab Americans are very loyal citizens and strongly committed to the eternal ideals and principles of freedom, peace and justice on which our country was founded.  Many of them have died for America in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean and Viet Nam Wars. Let us not forget that Arab American also died in the World Trade Center explosion and some were on the hijacked planes.

As Arab American religious leaders from Middle Eastern background, we want everyone to know that the members of our constituencies, Christians and Muslims alike, are people of faith.  Neither Christianity nor Islam condones violence and terrorism.  As a matter of fact many Arab people in the Middle East have been victims of individual, group and state terrorism for the past fifty-four years.

Therefore, this is not a time to point fingers and accuse innocent people of violence and evil acts. When we overcome our grief and after the dust settles, let us as intelligent Americans ask ourselves, who is behind this horrific act and why this act was committed?  These are the important questions which should be answered in depth.  Then and only then, will we know the facts and the real cause of terrorism.

May the souls of our sisters and brothers who have perished in this catastrophe rest in peace and may God protect and bless America.

Metropolitan Philip, Chairman - Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America

Bishop Stephen Doueihi, Eparchary of Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Bishop John A. Elya, Eparch, Diocese of Newton

Sheikh Sami T. Merhi, Druze Council of North America

Sheikh Hamad Ahmad Chebli, Islamic Society of Central New Jersey

Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim, Syrian Orthodox Church

Imam Fadhel Al-Sahlani, Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center