US evangelicals urge Obama to address Syria crisis nonviolently

By staff writers
September 9, 2013

The broad US coalition Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding,(EMEU), which seeks a non-partisan view of the region, is urging President Obama to pursue peaceful means to address the Syria crisis.

In a recent statement, EMEU says: "[W]e encourage Congress and the President to support the following actions:

"First, lead international diplomatic efforts to prevent further use of chemical weapons: Governments around the world – including Iran and Russia – have condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the US should work to direct this international resolve toward decisive diplomatic action.

"Second, de-escalate the violence: Refrain from providing military support to the opposition and press Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey to do the same, while continuing to call on Russia and Iran to cease military support for the Syrian government. Increasing violence in order to 'punish,' 'send a message,' or gain military advantage, in fact makes negotiations less likely to result in a durable democracy, much less a just peace.

"Third, pursue a political settlement with all stakeholders of the conflict: We must signal to the world the urgency of advancing a political settlement that seeks to end the violence and ensure accountability. Negotiations should include key civil society nonviolent actors and include determination of broader accountability mechanisms.

"We urge you to oppose authorization for the use of military force in Syria and instead to consider seriously these alternatives. You are in our prayers."

From its beginnings in 1985, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding has grown into a network which brings together Christians living in the Middle East with those living in North America for the purposes of deepening understanding and cooperation.

* More about EMEU: http://www.emeu.net/history.html

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