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18 mars 2011 5 18 /03 /mars /2011 10:17
Letter to President Obama about Libya

(1565 Signatures) Web Links










The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington D.C., DC 20500-0004

Dear Mr. President:

We the undersigned scholars fully appreciate and applaud your concern about not repeating the rush to unilateralism, which has too frequently defined American foreign policy in the Middle East in recent years. We also remember the strong commitment you made in Cairo on June 4, 2009 to support efforts to promote democracy in your “New Beginnings” speech to the Arab and Muslim worlds. In that speech you stated:


"I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people, the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas. They are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere."

These comments were widely hailed throughout the region and received as a strong signal that your administration would robustly support the rise of popular democracy wherever it occurred.

Over the past two months the Arab world has been shaken to its core by a profound and widespread popular call for democracy. This call has transcended all social classes, ethnic groups and religious confessions. The historic extent and nature of this appeal is of monumental historical significance. Oppressive and corrupt regimes in both Tunisia and Egypt have already been swept from power, and are actively challenged now also in Yemen and Libya.


Although non-violent popular movements were able to topple the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt, the case of Libya has been different. The protests, which began there on February 17th, started peacefully, as they did throughout the region. However, the regime of Colonel Gaddafi quickly responded by resorting to the use of military forces against unarmed civilians. The regime’s orders to its armed forces to use planes, helicopter gunships, heavy caliber machine guns and similar weaponry against unarmed protestors quickly prompted mass defections from the Libyan armed forces to the side of the protestors. The regime’s subsequent use of mercenary forces against the civilian population has only escalated the level of violence.


In response to calls for an American-led no-fly zone over northern Libya you have argued for the need for regional and international sanction for such a measure. We contend that with the recent unanimous vote of the League of Arab States, numerous calls for such action from states within the region, as well as wider calls from traditional American allies such as France and Britain for such action, legitimate sanction for the speedy imposition of a no-fly zone now exists and we call upon you now to assume a leading role in halting the horrific violence being perpetrated by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces by swiftly taking the following concrete actions:

(1) Working closely with U.S. allies, NATO, and the United Nations to create a coalition that will impose as quickly as possible a no-fly zone for all Libyan military aircraft over the full extent of northern Libyan airspace, and implement such measures as may be required to render the Libyan air force inoperable throughout the country.

(2) Joining France in recognizing the provisional government of Libya based in Benghazi as the sole legitimate government of Libya.

(3) Entering into immediate dialogue with the provisional government to determine how the U.S. and the international community may provide this legitimate government with both humanitarian and military assistance.

(4) Assist in the jamming of military communications by the Gaddafi forces.

(5) Issue a clear warning to all military officers and mercenaries supporting the Gaddafi regime that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of international law if they participate in crimes against humanity; and offer protection to any senior officers now loyal to Colonel Gaddafi who choose to defect.

Mr. President, we now stand at a pivotal moment in the struggle for democracy in the Arab world. If the words you spoke in Cairo nearly two years ago are to have any meaning, you must now assume a leading role in supporting the massive popular uprising for democracy throughout the region. The Libyan case is for the moment the most pressing, but people throughout the Arab world will judge your words in Cairo by your actions now. The support you promised for democracy in Cairo must be substantive and swift. To extend such support is not only to stand on the right side of history, we believe that it is also critical to the long-term national interests of this country.



Larry Diamond  

Director, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University

John L. Esposito 

Director, Al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University 

Akbar Ahmed 

Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University  

Francis Fukuyama 

Institute for International Studies, Stanford University 


Michele Dunne 

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 


Robert R. LaGamma

President, Council for a Community of Democracies


Aly R. Abuzaakouk 

Director, Libya Forum for Human and Political Development 


Imbarek El Shamikh

Ex- Prime Minster of Libya


Esam Omeish

Libyan Emergency Task Force


H.E. Ali Suleiman Aujali

Former Libyan Ambassador to the United States of America


Mohamed M. Bugaighis, Ph.D

Chairman, American Libyan Freedom Alliance


Ashour Ben Khaial

Former Libyan Diplomat


Radwan A. Masmoudi 

President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy 


Saad Eddin Ibrahim 

Founder Director, Ibn Khaldoun Center for Human Rights Studies


David J. Kramer

Executive Director, Freedom House


Shadi Hamid 

Director of Research, Brookings Doha Center


Joseph K. Grieboski

The Institue on Religion and Public Policy


David N Dorn

International Director, American Federation of Teachers


Thomas Michel, SJ

Woodstrock Theological Centre, Georgetown University


Rev. William Wesley Elkins

Drew University, Adjunct Professor, United Methodist Church


S. Abdallah Schleifer 

Professor Emeritus of Journalism and Founder, Adham Center, The American University in Cairo


Sherman L. Jackson

University of Michigan


Hamza Yusuf

Zaytuna College


Vincent J. Cornell

Emory University


Douglas M. Johnston 

President, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy


Rabbi Josef Potasnik

Board of Rabbis of New York


Richard J. Cohen

University of Virginia


I. William Zartman 

SAIS-Johns Hopkins University 


Reuven Kimelman

Brandeis University


Laurence O. Michalak

University of California Berkeley


Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin

George Mason University


Gabriel Marcella

Retired, US Army War College


Christopher S. Taylor 

Director, Drew University Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict 



Asma Afsaruddin 

Indiana University 


Tamara Sonn 

College of William & Mary 


Antony T. Sullivan 

Near East Support Services 



Emad Shahin 

University of Notre Dame 


Ingrid Mattson

Director, Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary


William L. Sachs

Center for Interfaith Reconciliation


Whitney Bodman

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary


Senator Mike Gravel

The Democracy Foundation


Stephen McInerney

Project on Middle East Democracy


Nayereh Tohidi

California State University, Northridge


Richard W. Soudriette

Center for Diplomacy and Democracy


Richard C. Rowson

Council for a Community of Democracies


Louay Safi 

Georgetown University/CMCU 



Najib Ghadbian 

University of Arkansas 


Patrick M. Cronin 

Center for a New American Security 



Abbas Milani 

Iranian Studies Program, Stanford University 



Jean-Louis Juvet 

Neuchâtel University (CH) 



Catherine Balten 

University of Notre Dame 


Radwan Ziadeh 

George Washington University 



Maher Hathout 

Muslim Public Affairs Council 



Joseph Bock 

University of Notre Dame 



Fred Dallmayr 

University of Notre Dame 



Steven B. Bloomfield 

Harvard University 



Jose Casanova 

Georgetown University 



Robert Pastor 

American University 



Mohamed Nimer 

American University


Ahmed E. Souaiaia 

University of Iowa 



Joseph V. Montville 

George Mason/American Universities 



Sheila Musaji 

Editor, The American Muslim 


Rafik Beekun

University of Nevada


Abdulaziz Sachedina

University of Virginia


Pamela K Taylor

Muslims for Progressive Values


Chibli Mallat

Harvard Law School and Utah University Quinney College of Law


Dr. Khursheed Mallick

East-West University


Ermin Sinanovic

US Naval Academy


Jamil Jreisat

University of South Florida


Nader Hashemi

University of Denver


Alejandro Beutel

Muslim Public Affairs Council


Hamid Abdeljaber

Rutgers University- New Jersey


Siraj Mufti

International Center for Peace, Tucson


Philippa Strum

City University of New York


Nathan Roberts

University of Texas at Austin


Mary Knight

New York University


Bruce Lawrence

Professor, Islamic Studies, Duke University


Sohail Nakhooda

Kalam Research and Media, former editor-in-chief of Islamica magazine


Robert F. Shedinger

Luther College


Harvey Teres

Director, Judaic Studies Program, Syracuse University


Peter Ochs

Bronfman Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Virginia


Rick Love

President, Peace Catalyst International


Daniel Madigan, SJ

Georgetown University


Alonzo L. McDonald

Former Chief-of-Staff under US President Jimmy Carter, Chairman and CEO, Avenir Group


Jonathan R. Cohen

Professor of Philosophy, University of Maine Farmington


David E. Zweifel

U.S. Ambassador (Retired)


Merve Kavakci

George Washington University


Yusuf Z. Kavakci

Founder, Quranic Academy & Founding Dean, Suffa Islamic Seminary, IANT, Dallas, Texas


David Hungerford

Founder, Common Path Alliance


Peter K Bechtold

Adjunct Scholar Middle East Institute


Samer Shehata

Georgetown University


Omar M. Kader

Chair of the Board, Middle East Policy Council



International Leaders & Scholars:

Francois Burgat

Professor of Political Science, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)


Professor Stephen Chan OBE

School of Oriental and African Studies, London


Roberta Bonazzi

European Foundation for Democracy


Janet McElligott

Co-Chairman of The Royal Foundation to Rebuild Africa


Farhad Khosrokhavar

Professor at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris


Mohammad Siddik

Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Univ. Azhar Indonesia, Jakarta


Sameer Jarrah

Network of Democrats in the Arab World


Fakhry Abu Shakra

Arab Center for Democracy and Peace Studies


Najah Kadhim

Executive Director-International Forum for Islamic Dialogue


Boudjema Ghechir

Algerian League for Human Rights


Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi

The Britslam Partnership


Abdelkader Amara

Justice and Development Party


Hikmat Bushnaq-Josting

Ibn Rushd Fund


Professor Paul D Janz

Head of Department, Theology and Religious Studies, King's College, University of London


Professor Graham Ward

Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics, University of Manchester


John Milbank

Professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics at the University of Nottingham


Khalid Ikramullah Khan

Associate Secretary General, Religions for Peace/Asia

Bertrand Hirsch

Professeur des Universités, Université Paris I Panthéon – Sorbonne


Thomas Cromwell

President, East West Communications


Michael Norton Schmidt OBE FRSL

Professor of Poetry, University of Glasgow


David F. Ford

Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge, Director, Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme, University of Cambridge


Samir Khalil Samir

Pontifical Oriental Institute, Vatican


Antonio Betancourt

Secretary General, Summit Council for World Peace


Anwar Majed Eshki

President of Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, Saudi Arabia


Antonio L Betancourt

Secretary General The Summit Council for World Peace


Mustafa Abushagur

President, Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai


Humanitarian Crisis in Libya -
An Open Letter to President Obama.



MEDIA ADVISORY -  (Washington D.C. 3/17/2011) -- On Friday, March 18, The Libyan Ambassador to the United States H.E. Ali Sulaiman Aujali along with the Deputy Libyan ambassador to the U.N. H.E. Ibrahim Al Dabbashi , Dr. Radwan Masmoudi, President of the Center of Islam and Democracy and Aly R. Abuzaakouk, Director of Libya Human and Political Development Forum will be holding a press conference at the Murrow Room, at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to Call on President Obama to support the pro-Democracy and Anti-Gaddafi forces, which is represented by the National Transitional Council in Libya.

WHAT: Call to Support the Libyan People in their struggle for freedom, human rights, and democracy. 

WHO: Libya's Ambassador to the United States H.E. Ali Sulaiman Aujali, The Deputy Libyan ambassador to the U.N. H.E. Ibrahim Al Dabbashi, Dr. Radwan Masmoudi, President of the Center of Islam and Democracy (CSID), and Aly R. Abuzaakouk, Director of the Libya Human and Political Development Forum

WHEN: Friday, March 18, 2011 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM

WHERE: The National Press Club, the National Press Building N.W., The Murrow Room, Washington, D.C.

CONTACT: Aly R. Abuzaakouk, 301-528-9816, E-Mail: alyabuzakuk@gmail.com, Dr. Radwan Masmoudi at 202-251-2026, Email: masmoudi@islam-democracy.org

The Open Letter to President Obama has been signed by more than 1,500 scholars and pro-democracy activists.

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