Friday, October 15, 2010

Conference October 26, 2010

“The Plight of Minorities and Expatriates in Arab and Muslim Countries: What the US Should Do”

In collaboration with Human Rights Advocates and Religious Freedom Defenders

-The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia-

Invites you to this timely conference

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2010 – 12:00 (noon) to 4:30 P.M

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (South), Congressional Meeting Room 80

Notwithstanding reported concerns in some Islamic lands about our armies deployed abroad, many Arabs and Muslims chafe under the restraints of despotic regimes, and long for the freedoms and opportunities afforded all citizens in the United States. One can find intense and desperate yearning for US support among democracy advocates, women, minorities and expatriates.

It is well documented, by reputable NGOs, media outlets and many Western governments’ agencies, including the State Department and The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, that rampant violations of minorities and expatriates’ rights occur in countries considered allies of the US and other Western democracies. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, the small oil rich Arab Gulf States, Iraq and Sudan are notoriously known for their ubiquitous abuses of women’s, minorities’ and expatriates’
We commend President Obama for portraying dictators as adversaries and praise democracies as America’s best friends and trusted allies during his second annual address to the U.N. General Assembly on September 23, 2010. He declared, “Freedom, justice and peace in the lives of individual human beings” are {for the United States} “a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity. So we need to stand up for universal values because it's the right thing to do. But we also know from experience that those who defend these values for their people have been our closest friends and allies, while those who have denied those rights -- whether terrorist groups or tyrannical governments -- have chosen to be our adversaries.” The President went on to say, “Part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others…That belief will guide America's leadership in this 21st century”.

This conference is designed to address gross injustices committed against women, minorities and expatriates in Arab and Muslim countries. Maltreatment of these groups is often committed in the name of Islam and the Sharia law.

This conference is not about debating Islam in any comprehensive way. However, it is impossible to understand the plight of minorities, women and expatriates without understanding what the Quran and Sharia (and their current interpretations in some countries) say about abuses and marginalization of these groups.

Confirmed Speakers:

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah
Founder and President, Human Rights Organization “Voice of the Copts”
“Copts between persecution and perpetration”

William Murray
Chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition
“The Plight of the Church in the Middle East”

Professor Ramesh Rao
Human Rights Coordinator, Hindu American Foundation (HAF)
"From malignant neglect to harsh discrimination: The plight of Hindus in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Afghanistan"

Dr. Dwight Bashir
Deputy Director for Policy and Research, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
“Repression of Minorities in the Arab Middle East and Iran”

Shastri Purushotma
Human Rights Officer, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States
“The experience of Baha’i communities in the Middle East and implications for the future”

Carole Basri
Former member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq
Adjunct Professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School
“The Status of Arab Jews”

Clare Lopez
CDHR Board member, former CIA Officer and Professor at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies
“The Impact of Shariah Law on Women’s Rights”

Fatima Thompson
Co-chair, Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV)
“Shariah Law and the US Judicial System”

Katrin Michael
Consultant, Kurdish Human Rights Watch
“Status of Minorities in Iraq”

Dr. Robert Mikhail
Founding member, National American Coptic Assembly
"Why a free and strong Coptic Community is necessary for Egypt's prosperity"


  • Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom --
  • National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the U.S --
  • Hindu American Foundation --
  • Muslims for Progressive Values --
  • Kurdish Human Rights Watch --
  • Religious Freedom Coalition
  • Endowment for Middle Eastern Truth --
  • Alliance of Iranian Women --
  • Voice of the Copts --
  • National American Coptic Association --
  • Reform party of Syria --

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