Msg : 88 Written : 08/25/94 07:06pm
From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status :
To : ALL
Subj : U.N. & Religion I
The Religious Response to the Population Crises
The United Nations Conference on the Population and Development
isn't meeting until September 5-12 in Cairo, but religious groups are
already lining up in opposition to it. The U.N. Cairo conference is
supposed to create a plan to stabilize the world's population at 7.8
billion by the year 2050. Draft documents of the plan have already been
released -- and have met fierce criticism from conservative forces
throughout the world.
Meeting on Tuesday, August 23, the Ad Hoc Coalition for Cairo -- a
coalition of Catholic, Muslim, Southern Baptists, "free enterprise,"
and women's groups -- claimed that there was no overpopulation on
earth and denounced the draft of the U.N.'s population document.
Claiming that a U.N. Population Fund report that the world population
is growing by 94 million a year is "misinformation," members of the
coalition said that the draft document is a hoax. Represented in the
coalition, among other organizations, were the Family of the Americas;
Vernon Walters, a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Reagon
administration; the National Institute of Womanhood; the Southern
Baptist Convention's Christian Life Commission; and the Rockford
Institute. A focus of their wrath was the document's plans for
increased access to artificial contraception and abortion and increased
education for girls. One member of the coalition stated, "If [girls]
are barraged with the idea that their natural reproductive gift is one
that they need to suppress, that would be the greatest oppression of
women that would have occurred."
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, August 23, Iranian media slammed the U.N.
draft document for "authorizing" abortion, homosexuality, and
premarital sex. Tehran's Kayhan International newspaper urged
cooperation with the Vatican in opposing the document, saying that "it
is high time that scholars of all godly religions united to confront
the forces of immorality in the present day under various names such as
secularism, human rights, freedom of speech."
During early August, Pope John Paul II sent special envoys to Iran
and Libya to seek support among Muslim nations for its opposition to
the U.N. Population conference. After one such meeting, on Monday,
August 1, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Hashemi Rafsanjani
told the Iranian newspaper _Abrar_ that
"The future war is between the religious and the materialists.
Collaboration between religious governments in support of outlawing
abortion is a fine beginning for the conception of collaboration in
_Jana_, the official news agency of Libya, also welcomed the
"collaboration." But it went further, claiming that the Vatican had
agreed to aid Libya with its problems with Western nations concerning
the 1988 bombing of Pam Am Flight 103, if Libra agreed to condemn the
U.N. draft document.
Msg : 89 Written : 08/25/94 07:08pm
From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status :
To : ALL
Subj : U.N. & Religion II
[continued from prior message]
Earlier, in June, three Vatican officials and three Muslim leaders
met at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Vatican
City and issued a statement that the U.N. document was "unacceptable to
believing Muslims and Christians." The Muslim representatives at the
meeting were from the World Muslim League, the Organization of the
Islamic Conference and the World Muslim Congress.
On August 11, Al Azhar University in Cairo (usually called the
world's most prestigious center of Islamic studies) called for a
revision of the parts of the U.N. document which do not agree with
Islamic principles. It claimed that "The ambiguous expressions,
abstract terms, and innovative jargon which abound [in the document]
suggest that it aims to adopt the opposite of the basic precepts which
Islam has laid down." U.S. Muslim leaders have been quoted as saying
that they believe the Al Azhar's statements to be the definitive Muslim
position. Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the COuncil on
American-Islamic Relations, said that the U.N. document was a
Western-inspired plot for "limiting the number of brown babies."
And American Atheists must pause to highlight one of the U.N.
document items that is in contradiction to Islam. The document calls
for women to be granted equal social, political, and economic rights,
specifically saying that boys and girls should receive equal shares in
inheritance. Under Islamic law, however, women are entitled to one half
of the inheritance males receive.
On May 28, American Catholic cardinals and archbishops wrote
President Clinton urging him to oppose the document. They claimed that
it "advocates the worldwide distribution of artificial contraceptives
and the increased practice of sterilization which will have the effect
of promoting a self-centered and casual view of human sexuality, an
approach so destructive of family life and the moral fiber of society."
Catholic leaders particularly object to statements in the document that
women have a right to "methods of fertility regulation of their
Meanwhile, the Clinton administration, which backs the U.N. plan,
is seeking to avoid a clash with the Vatican over the conference. The
undersecretary of state who is leading the U.S. participation in the
Cairo conference has held special meetings with American Catholic
officials to try to ease their criticisms of the draft conference
document. Being diplomatic, a state department official said that "We
suspect that [the pope's opposition] has to do with the fact that the
conference is really calling for a new role for women, calling for
girls' education and improving the status of women."
At the same time, on Monday, August 15, a coalition of
religious groups, including the American Muslim Council, and Christian,
and Jewish organizations, place a full-page ad in the _New York Times_
urging President Clinton to change the U.N. draft document. The
executive director of the American Muslim Council noted that his
group's involvement in the ad was the result of "having been contacted
by Catholic groups in Boston."
And to top it all off, Islamist lawyers have sued the government
of Egypt to prevent the conference from being held in Cairo at all. The
grounds? The document offends Sharia (Islamic law) on which Egyptian
law is based -- and, besides, homosexuals might be allowed to attend
Msg : 92 Written : 09/04/94 07:12pm
From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status :
To : ALL
Subj : More on Cairo
MORE ON THE CAIRO POPULATION CONFERENCE
The International Conference on Population and Development opens
on Monday, September 5 in Cairo, Egypt. Delegates from over 155
countries will meet at the U.N.-sponsored conference to make plans to
decrease population growth. The conference will consider whether to
adopt a draft document giving guidelines develope for that goal. THe
document focuses on improving health care for women and children,
improving women's legal status, and integrating population and
The document and the conference have come under increasing attack
from the Vatican and Islamic leaders. The Vatican claims that the
document endorses abortion. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Lebanon have
withdrawn from the conference.
Undersecretary of State Tim Wirth, however, counters that "This is
not a conference about abortion. This is a conference about the urgency
of population stabilization and economic development." The Clinton
administration was deeply involved with the creation of the draft
document. The U.S. will send a 45- member delegation to the conference,
led by Vice President Al Gore.
Meanwhile, on September 1, Mother Teresa was trotted out to say
that "The greatest destroyer of peace today in the world is abortion.
If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to stop you and me
from killing each other? . . . Abortion is evil. A child is created by
God. If there is a child that you do not want or cannot feed or
educate, give that child to me. I will not refuse any child. I will
give a home, or find loving parents for him or her."
Mother Teresa was invited to speak to the Cairo conference but
unable to attend. American Atheists has to question why she was invited
-- what business does a celibate 84 year old have lecturing
childbearing women on how to handle their own reproduction?
The climate of hate whipped up against the population conference
by that Vatican and by Islamic leaders is so bad that Misr Insurance
Company, an Egyptian insurer, has issued 20,000 policies for delegates
and staff, as well as the conference hall itself.
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