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Religious Right joins Muslims, other faiths at `Family Congress'. (People & Events).

Religious Right organizations in the United States are continuing their drive to link arms with fundamentalist Muslims and other faith groups to advocate internationally for "pro-family" positions on education, reproductive rights, population control and individual freedom.

Representatives from an array of conservative religious groups -- including evangelical Christians, Catholics, Muslims and Mormons -- met in Washington, D.C., in late October for a regional meeting of the "World Congress of Families." At the first Congress in Prague in 1997, delegates issued a declaration echoing Religious Right attacks on public schools, divorce, legal abortion and gay fights.

President George W. Bush welcomed delegates to the Washington gathering with a letter noting that he has "committed my administration to work hard to help parents and encourage the formation and maintenance of loving families." Bush added that his major initiatives include efforts to "promote responsible fatherhood, strengthen families and make adoption more affordable."

According to The Washington Times, a highlight of the conference came when Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a right-wing Jewish activist from Washington state and ally of TV preacher Pat Robertson, clasped hands with Mokhtar Lamani, the Organization of the Islamic Conference's ambassador to the United Nations.

"It is of great significance, with all the maelstroms swirling around us, that the ambassador stands shoulder to shoulder with us in the interest of advancing the family as the basis of civilization," Lapin said.

Less than two weeks after the World Congress session, Lamani took a public stand that seemed decidedly "anti-family," leading a successful effort to block a United Nations-backed treaty designed to combat international terrorism. Explaining his organization's opposition, Lamani said the treaty failed to distinguish between terrorism and "national liberation movements," such as the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"If someone is fighting against this situation, for us it is not a terrorist," Lamani said. "You cannot compare that at all to what happened at the World Trade Center. They have a right to fight if the peace process is broken."

The Organization of the Islamic Conference includes 57 officially or predominantly Muslim nations, among them repressive regimes such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In many of the countries, "family law," based on the Islamic sharia code, is decidedly harsh.

Other participants at the World Congress session in Washington included U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.); U.S. Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.); Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis of the Family Research Council; conservative radio talk show host Michael Medved; Patrick Fagan, Heritage Foundation; Rita Thompson, a member of the Fairfax County, Va., School Board and a staffer at Concerned Women for America; Jeanne E. Head of the National Right to Life Committee and Dinesh D'Souza, American Enterprise Institute.

The gathering, which scheduled one session on the floor of the House of Representatives, was sponsored by the Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation, Beverly LaHaye Institute, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, Concerned Women for America, Brigham Young University Management Society, Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, Southern Virginia University, Toward Tradition, World Family Policy Center and the Family Action Council International.
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Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:509
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