Syria’s religious authority calls for prayer in face of U.S. Congress vote

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Syria’s religious authority has urged its people to fast and pray on Monday to face the anticipated U.S. congressional vote, which could authorize President Barak Obama to execute a military strike against the Arab country, official news agency SANA reported.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments called on Syrians to fast next Monday, two days before the congressional session.

It has also called for a one-million-people campaign to ask God for forgiveness and repentance.

This call for fasting and communal prayer stirred many angry and satiric comments from those who oppose the Syrian government.

“This call opposes the secularity of the Syrian government, repeatedly claimed by [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, especially since this call is made by the Ministry of Religious Endowments,” newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted Zuhair Salem, spokesman for Syria’s banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, as saying.

“The Syrian regime is using religion and sectarianism in the service of its intentions to remain in power,” Salem added.

The spokesman said if the Syrian president wants to avoid the strike on the country, “he could step down as the military action is against him and the regime for their activities… and for using all types of weapons, including chemical weapons.”

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