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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
US Christian ad stands by Iraqis
Sebastian Usher
BBC World Media correspondent

Still from FaithfulAmerica.org ad for Arab TV
The ad features a Muslim, as well as Christians and a Jew
A Christian organisation in the US has prepared an advertisement for Arab TV condemning the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib jail.

FaithfulAmerica.org has received donations from its supporters to pay for the ad.

It features Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious figures offering their solidarity with the Iraqi people.

The clip, which can be seen on the group's website, is to be shown next week on two Arab satellite channels.

FaithfulAmerica.org says it seeks to show to Iraq and the Arab world that people of faith in the US stand shoulder with them in demanding justice for the sinful abuses committed in their name.

We condemn the sinful and systemic abuses committed in our name, and pledge to work to right these wrongs.
FaithfulAmerica.org
The website has a link to a rough form of the ad, which runs for 30 seconds and has a simple set-up - four talking heads taking turns in reading out a statement in English, which is translated in Arabic subtitles.

The speakers are, in order: Reverend Don Shriver; Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf; Sister Betty Obal and Rabbi Arthur Waskow. They are all well-known liberal figures within their respective faiths in America.

A caption at the end of the ad reads in Arabic: "This message was endorsed and paid for by thousands of Americans."

FaithfulAmerica.org - a non-profit lobbying group that started a month ago - has paid $20,000 for the ad to be shown in several slots next Tuesday on the two biggest pan-Arab satellite TV stations, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

The money came from more than 1,000 donors. More than 15,000 others have endorsed the message.

George W Bush
FaithfulAmerica.org is at odds with Bush over the scandal
The ad mirrors recent appearances on Arab TV by senior US officials - most notably President George W Bush - promising firm action over the Abu Ghraib scandal.

But FaithfulAmerica.org says the administration has not faced up to the moral wrong of what happened.

A senior member of President Bush's own United Methodist Church, Bishop Melvin Talbert, is the public face of the campaign.

He told the BBC he believes the administration should be more forthright and forthcoming in dealing with the abuse scandal and rectifying it.

He said he hoped the ad would show people in the Arab world that many Americans do care about them and want for Arabs what they want for themselves.




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