By Mark Pattison
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Religious leaders in the Save Darfur Coalition urged prayer the weekend of Dec. 9-10 to call attention to the ongoing atrocities in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
"Nobody knows the exact number" of those killed in the conflict, said David Rubenstein, executive director of the coalition, although he estimated 400,000 have died in the violence.
"There are people dying every day, and at risk of death every day," Rubenstein said during a Dec. 5 conference call with reporters. "They are being burned from their homes and villages."
"Mostly, what they need is security," said Rubenstein, adding that "3.5 million people in toto have been affected by this conflict, and the systems of survival have shut down."
In a related matter, 78 religious organizations, including five Catholic groups, signed a full-page ad in the Dec. 5 issue of USA Today issuing a "call to your conscience" on Darfur. Catholic signers were the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Pax Christi USA and the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.
"Untold thousands" have been "raped, tortured and terrorized," said the ad, which asked readers to "dedicate a sermon, observe a moment of silence or say a prayer. ... Together, we can make a difference." Read more >>>