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Witchita Muslim Leader and UCC Pastor Participate in Gaza Freedom March

January 4, 2010

1,000 people worldwide travel to Gaza on anniversary of Israeli invasion. Delegation calls on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza.

Wichita – Mr. Maher Musleh, director of the Wichita chapter of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Rev. Michael Poage, pastor, Fairmount United Church of Christ (Wichita), will be traveling to Gaza and join The Gaza Freedom March. The march is an historic initiative to break the siege that has imprisoned the 1.5 million people who live in Gaza. Conceived in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and nonviolent resistance to injustice worldwide, the march will gather people from all over the world to march—hand in hand—with the people of Gaza to demand that the Israelis open the borders. 

This march is not about political parties but fair and humane treatment of a forgotten people.   Mr. Musleh says that "my interest is in bringing people together, non-violently, to learn from each other with the result being respect and peace for all."  The Rev. Poage's concern is "that in the violent military attack on Gaza last year by the Israeli Defense Forces the targeted civilian population was decimated and the infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, schools, hospitals, and United Nations food facilities were destroyed."  Both Mr. Musleh and Rev. Poage agree that the borders must be opened so humanitarian and building supplies will be available to rebuild the shattered lives in Gaza.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the December 2008 Israeli invasion that left over 1,400 dead, this is a grassroots global response to the inaction on the part of world leaders and institutions. [Name] will join 1,000 international delegates from 40 countries and march alongside distinguished participants such as Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, leading Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, French Senator Alima Boumediene–Thiery, author and Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, former European Parliamentarians Luisa Morgantini from Italy and Eva Quistorp from Germany, President of the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Michael Ratner, Japanese former Ambassador to Lebanon Naoto Amaki, French hip-hop artists Ministere des Affaires Populaires, and 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.

Also participating are families of three generations, doctors, lawyers, diplomats, 70 students, an interfaith group that includes rabbis, priests and imams, a women's delegation, a Jewish contingent, a veterans group and Palestinians born overseas who have never seen their families in Gaza.

The international delegates will enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December. In the morning December 31, they will join an estimated 50,000 Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza to the Erez/Israeli border. On the Israeli side of the Erez border will be a gathering of Palestinians and Jews who are also calling on the Israeli government to open the border.

"The Gaza Freedom March will go down in history as the day that people of conscience from around the world came together to demand that Israel stop the imprisonment of Gaza's 1.5 million people," said Medea Benjamin, one of the organizers of the march.

Contact Mr. Maher Musleh and/or Rev. Michael Poage directly:  316-655-4943/316-682-8818

For more general information about the march see, especially FAQ section, or contact:

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