Abrahamic faith leaders come together and join the global call to make third anniversary of Syria crisis the last marked by bloodshed

by Christian Aid | johannarogers | Christian Aid - UK
Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:24 GMT


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  • Global vigils to be held in churches, mosques and synagogues
  • Thousands of people to attend vigils held in more than 34 countries
  • Faith leaders shine a light of hope globally
  • Banksy has created a #WithSyria reworking of his iconic “girl with a red balloon” image which has been turned into an animation narrated by Idris Elba with music from Elbow
  • Nelson’s Column, the Lincoln Memorial and Eiffel Tower to be lit up in message of hope at the vigils
  • Over 100 humanitarian and human rights groups join Boris Johnson and Richard Branson in demanding immediate action to ensure Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege, can access aid

Abrahamic faith leaders have come together to support the largest public mobilisation for Syria urging world leaders take action to end the Syrian conflict.

Julie Siddiqi, Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis are just some of the faith leaders who are supporting the #WithSyria campaign. The campaign will see thousands of people across the world, from Moscow to Washington, stand together in a global vigil to mark the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria on Thursday 13th March.

Churches, mosques and synagogues will hold special prayer vigils around the world calling for urgent action to help Syrians caught up in the conflict. The #WithSyria campaign is calling for urgent action to ensure that Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege - can access aid, and for the voices of ordinary Syrians to be heard and heeded in reconvened peace talks.

Iconic locations across the world will be bathed in light by candlelit vigils, a Banksy inspired light projection using his artwork “There is always hope” – which has been redesigned to feature a young Syrian girl holding a red balloon - and the release of thousands of red balloons, carrying messages of hope to Syrians.

Syrian voices have joined a coalition of over 100 humanitarian and human rights groups from 34 countries, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Islamic Relief, Christian Aid and the International Rescue Committee, to simultaneously launch a plea for world leaders to commit to making this the last anniversary marked by bloodshed.

Julie Siddiqi, Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Britain said: “For three years Syrians have endured unacceptable suffering. The impact of this crisis has been devastating. It’s wonderful that the Abrahamic faiths and the British public have come together to pray for an end to this conflict. The vigils that are being held around the world show the people of Syria that we care and that we haven’t forgotten about their pain and suffering. We are demanding that world leaders take action to end this conflict now."

Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry said: "We can remain silent no more. The world can ill-afford another anniversary for Syria marked by bloodshed. This week the Church stands with others in shining a light in solidarity with the people of Syria and as a demonstration to our own government, and others, that they must intensify their efforts to end the bloodshed and to get aid to all those in need."

Paul Anticoni, chief executive, World Jewish Relief said: “Religion does not advocate conflict or suffering. We should not be standing here marking three years of bloodshed, suffering and loss of innocent lives. The Abrahamic faiths and people around the world coming together signifies that this crisis needs to come to an end. Our vigils illustrate our support for ordinary Syrian civilians who continue to pay the heaviest price.”