White House Meeting & Press Conference Urge Russia to Stop Airstrikes in Syria
By Hoda Hawa
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Today (Oct 9) we were part of a group of leading American Muslim and Syrian American leaders who met with top ranking White House officials to express concerns over Russia’s recent airstrikes in Syria that resulted in the killings of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure.
At the White House meeting, the leadership discussed the ramifications of the recent bombings and suggested policy recommendations for the protection of civilians and the resettlement of more refugees.
Following the White House meeting, we participated in a news conference in front of the Russian embassy in Washington, DC At the conference, I stated that the introduction of Russian airstrikes in Syria will only worsen the already devastating humanitarian crisis, cause a new influx of refugees and give further ammunition to ISIS propaganda and recruitment efforts. I called on the US and our partners to rethink our strategy on Syria. We must deal with Assad and countering ISIS simultaneously. Without that vision and shift in policy, Assad and ISIS will continue to use each other to perpetuate the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.
After the press conference, we collectively hand-delivered a letter addressed to the Russian ambassador urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to rethink his military strategy in Syria.
In an op-ed published yesterday, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati and Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Board Member Zaher Sahloul cautioned that the current conflict could also escalate into a perceived religious war. Take some time to read their op-ed here .
Halal Economy Set to Grow: Experts
The halal economy is set to grow as the world's Muslim population expands and more products are certified to comply with Islamic sharia law, experts said on Tuesday.
The range of halal products, from goods not containing pork or alcohol to financial and tourism services, is rising as the global Muslim population grows.
"They are growing because we are increasing by 2.5 to 3 percent every year. Islam is the fastest growing religion," said Muhammad Chaudry, president of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America.
He said many products that were sharia-compliant by nature are now being certified as halal, contributing to the increase in the size of the halal economy.
"When we talk about the halal economy growing by 20 percent, it is the conversion from indiscriminate we-don't-know-what's-in-it economy to a definitely halal-certified economy," he told AFP at an Islamic economy forum in Dubai.
The rising demand for halal products has seen businesses, restaurants and hotels across the world cater for the needs of Muslim clients, Chaudry said.
"Halal is a lifestyle. Countries like Japan and Korea are taking the lead to convert their restaurants and hotels into halal-friendly so they can attract more tourists from Muslim countries," he said.
"Halal is a global entity. We are looking at 1.8 billion consumers," he said, referring to an estimate of the world's Muslim population.
The head of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, Abdulla al-Muaini, said the Muslim population, expected to reach 2.2 billion in 2030, is a "core market" for halal products.
He said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation values the global halal sector at $2.3 trillion.
"Halal industry is expected to be one of the steady growing sectors across the global economy," he said.