Ruth Messinger and Other Faith Leaders Call on Congress to Seize New Opportunity for Action on Sudan As April Elections Near

Faith Leaders Host Prayer Breakfast, Deliver Humpty Dumpty Books to Congress and Run Print Ad Urging Congress to Act

Washington, DC; March 2, 2010— Representatives from faith communities nationwide appealed to Congress today to re-focus its attention to Sudan. The leaders are members of the Interfaith Sudan Working Group, a coalition of Jewish, Muslim and Christian organizations working for lasting peace in the troubled East African nation. Following a prayer breakfast sponsored by Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) at the U.S. Capitol, the group delivered copies of the children’s fairy tale book, Humpty Dumpty, to all 535 Members of Congress, signifying the fragility of the situation in Sudan.

Pointing to Sudan’s upcoming national election in April, a recent ceasefire agreement between Sudan’s president and a Darfuri rebel group (JEM) and an impending referendum on independence for southern Sudan, the group insists Congress step in at this critical juncture to help usher in peace for the Sudanese people. This includes working towards fulfillment of the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan— essential for creating stability throughout the country, including the Darfur region, where violent clashes took place yesterday.

Several members of the Interfaith Sudan Working Group released the following statements today about the vital, immediate role that the U.S. government must play in Sudan:

Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service: “We have born witness to the devastation of this conflict for too many years. But this year, the US Congress has a chance to help turn a new page for Sudan . . . or allow the country to descend into irrevocable chaos. Political milestones such as the upcoming election, ceasefire agreements and referendum carry great promise and great peril. That’s why we need the U.S. government’s focused attention now. If the agreements and peace process fall apart, they can’t just be put back together, again.”

Galen Carey, director of government affairs, National Association of Evangelicals: “It will be tragic if the extensive U.S. investment over many years in the Sudan peace process is squandered due to inattention at a decisive moment when the future of millions of Sudanese and the stability of the region hangs in the balance. The U.S. can and must use its significant influence to support a peaceful and democratic future for all Sudanese people.”

Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: “In this moment of urgency, we gather in prayer to remember that promoting justice is our duty, and to demand and support the right of every Sudanese to participate in their own democracy, without fear of retaliation or violence. I challenge our representatives in Washington to call attention to Sudan, whose suffering citizens the international community has too often willfully ignored, and work towards peace as national elections approach.”

In addition to their efforts on Capitol Hill today, the Interfaith Sudan Working Group is running advertisements throughout the week aimed at Congress in Roll Call magazine.

Faith leaders participating in the prayer breakfast and book delivery today, include:

•  Ruth Messinger: President, American Jewish World Service
•  Imam Johari Abdul-Malik: Director of Community Outreach, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center; Head of Government Relations, Muslim Alliance in North America
•  Dr. Steve Colecchi: Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
•  Galen Carey: Director of Government Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals
•  Bishop David Jones: Episcopal Church, Diocese of Virginia
•  Kirk Betts: Board Chair Emeritus, Lutheran World Relief
•  Archbishop Vicken Aykazian: Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
•  Rev. Gloria White-Hammond: AME Pastor; Co-Founder, My Sister’s Keeper
•  Rabbi David Saperstein: Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

About Interfaith Sudan Working Group
The Interfaith Sudan Working Group is a Washington D.C. based coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim denominational and faith-based organizations working for a peaceful Sudan.

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