PR Newswire

Posted by PR Newswire on September 09, 2014 in News Clips

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The deteriorating situation facing millions of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East will be the focus of a bipartisan and ecumenical conference which starts today in the nation's capital.  The three-day event sponsored by In Defense of Christians (IDC) will feature speakers from all over the globe.

The IDC Summit for Middle East Christians, whose theme is "Protecting and Preserving Christianity, Where It All Began," marks the first occasion in history where six Christian Patriarchs from the Middle East will gather together in the United States. 1,000 attendees representing over 20 states and 10 different countries are attending this historic event.

IDC President Toufic Baaklini said, "For too long, Westerners have stood by, silent or unaware, while Christians and other groups in the Middle East have endured discrimination, persecution, and religious cleansing. Today, as the Islamic State continues its genocidal campaign against Christians in Iraq and Syria, the globe is finally awakening to their plight. IDC exists to give voice to these voiceless people. In this hour of their greatest peril, they are in desperate need of support.  We must act now."

Baaklini stated: "To this end, IDC is hosting a historic global Summit for Middle East Christians, September 9-11, in Washington, D.C. This summit will empower the Middle Eastern Christian Diaspora and energize the American people to stand in solidarity the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East.  Their survival is vital to stability in the region, and their ability to flourish in their countries of origin has national security implications for the United States."

Summit attendees will have the opportunity to meet with Members of Congress and their staff, policy makers, diplomats, human rights activists, and religious leaders.  Speakers include: Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Rai; Syriac Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II; Archbishop of Washington Donald Cardinal Wuerl; Leonardo Cardinal Sandri of the Vatican's Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches; Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX); Senator Debbie Stabenow (R-MI); Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL); Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); Dr. James Zogby; and Nina Shea, Director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom. 

In Defense of Christians (IDC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the preservation and protection of Christians in the Middle East.

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