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SAF Statement Regarding CA and MI Events 

January 3, 2014

The Syrian American Forum regrets the fact that the “Coalition for a Democratic Syria”, through the website of “The Syrian American Council” resorts once again to the language of accusations, divisiveness and implied threats with regards to SAF and its activities, while SAF continues to call for unity, dialogue, reconciliation  and peace amongst all Syrians, especially the Syrian American community.

The Grand Mufti of Syria ahmad Hassoun and Bishop Luka of the antiochian Orthodox Church.

“CDS” falls once again to misrepresentation and misreading of our mission explicitly clarified in our statements and legal certifications approved by the US law and government. Silencing any differing opinion, as “CDS” is trying to do, is not so conducive to putting an end to killing of Syrians and to the spread of terrorism that threatens the national security of our United States as well as that of Syria.
“CDS” misrepresenting the Syrian American Community by claiming that it “has gathered and protested the events in Beverly Hills, California and in Livonia Michigan” proves it is so out of touch:
- In Los Angeles, no more than two dozen came out in protest, yet almost 600 Syrian Americans attended the event, bypassing the protesters and rejecting their divisiveness, accusations, intimidations and threats.
- In Livonia, despite their call to the local police department claiming that 40-50 people were to protest the event, not a single protester showed up. Clearly, they were indirectly trying to intimidate Syrian Americans that reject their divisiveness, accusations and threats. Over 300 Syrian Americans attended this event.
- As for the accusations of secrecy, please go back to our announcements and calls as the events were publicized weeks in advance along with phone numbers of REAL people.
Contrary to all claims of “CDS”, we call upon everyone, mainly our Syrian American community, to listen to the videos posted on our, and other, friends’ Facebook pages. The ONLY language used by our representatives and that of our guest speakers was the language of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and love and harmony among Syrians. It also included full respect and peace for the American people despite the policies of the administration’s Syrian policy. Everyone emphasized the need for the unity of the community here in the US through dialogue and understanding, as SAF continues to advocate, instead of accusations and threats.
Here are roughly translated quotes from what the Grand Mufti said at SAF’s events:
“Syria, my children of the opposition and supporters, will regain back its peace and national unity with all of your help... My children of both the opposition and supporters, let go of your weapons, come to your motherland, and we will host you with our hearts so you can have a national dialogue for Syria. To my brothers in the opposition, the meeting will be conducted through honesty, then reconciliation then forgiveness… "
"When I met of those that assassinated my son, visiting them in prison—they got scared when they saw me—I put my hand over their heads and said to them: don’t be afraid, I forgive you, I do not want for two mothers to cry.. it is enough that Sariya’s mother cried."
“What I urge of you there, our community there, is to unite and bond among each other and inform the American people, and all peoples of the world, that we seek peace… never in our history did a Syrian kill another Syrian because of his religion or belief... We in Syria are of ONE religion, despite being of different sects, our God is ONE and the same despite the different ways we portray Him”.
Another interesting element in Dr. Basha’s statement is his total ignorance of another message of peace and harmony delivered by Archbishop Louka Elkhoury. The attendees of both CA and MI events were so heartened to hear how proud he was when he talks about joint prayers with the Mufti.
Dr. Ghias Moussa, Director of Communications for SAF expressed his “regret of Dr. Basha’s blanket condemnation not only of SAF ‘but also the people who came out to support them’, thus totally alienating the wide majority of the Syrian American community. If Dr. Basha aims at creating a democratic Syria as he and his organization claim, shouldn’t he instead accept the basic premise of democracy; that is freedom of expression and opinion? Didn’t our events prove, by numbers and pictures, that the overwhelming majority of the Syrian American Community supports our mission of peace, unity, coexistence and reconciliation instead of his accusations and threats?”
Dr. Moussa went on reemphasizing SAF’s “call on the community, and Syrians at large, to resort to peaceful means and dialogue to solve the crisis in Syria. The Syrian people suffered long enough of this war. Enough is enough. Let’s all sit together and find the peace Syrians are so eager for.”
Finally, just a reminder to Dr. Basha and all interested: SAF is a 501 ( C ) 4 not for profit organization that seeks to educate the Syrian American community and the general public as to political, social and economic events occurring in the United States and Syria. Our events fall within the parameters of our legal boundaries as established according to the US law. Educating the community and public at large is what drives these, and other, activities SAF undertakes.
In our mission statement, SAF advocates:
- Rejection of violence and foreign intervention.
- Syrian National Reconciliation and Unity through dialogue.
- Gradual transition to a political system agreed upon by all Syrians.
- Preserving the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Syria.
- A Secular Syria with equal rights to all.
- Better US / Syrian relations.

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