Letter from Clergy to the University of New Haven

Dear President Kaplan, Dean Gaboury and members of the UNH Board of Governors:

As members of our respective faith communities, we call upon the University of New Haven to reconsider its relationship with Saudi Arabia and to break its ties with the King Fahd Security College (KFSC), a police/military college.

As we have stood together in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors to mourn the terrible anti-Semitic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue, and as we have publicly expressed our outrage against the Islamophobic attacks on our Muslim neighbors, we believe that Martin Luther King Jr. was exactly right when he said that “an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” Therefore, we cannot remain silent in the face of Saudi Arabia’s well documented violation of human rights.

Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, has a long record in the use of torture, exacting horrific punishments against women, gays and dissidents. The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi underscores this, but the sorry record of the Saudi government goes back many decades.

As people of faith, we note that there is no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia, no right for public worship by Christians, Jews or even Shiite Muslims. Neither is there freedom to question religion and religious teachings. Grotesquely, people are severely punished for supposedly being “witches.”

The photo circulating worldwide of the 7-year old girl who starved to death in Yemen this week is a terrible reminder of the tens of thousands killed as a result of the unjustified interference of the Saudi government in Yemen. In Yemen, as a result of the bombing perpetrated by the Saudis and the United Arab Emerates, and disgracefully assisted by our own government, millions are starving and multitudes have suffered from cholera and other diseases.

We believe it is morally wrong for the University of New Haven to be associated in any way with the Saudi Arabian monarchy and the atrocities for which it is responsible. You owe it to your own integrity to see this an opportunity to take a stand for human rights and use this as an opportunity to bring enlightenment to your academic community. As such we call upon the University of New Haven to hold public forums on campus about this issue, and if we can assist with speakers, please let us know.

Sincerely,

The Rev. David W. Good,
Minister Emeritus,
The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Ct

Kent Siladi
Connecticut Conference, United Church of Christ

Reverend Bruce M. Shipman
Vicar Emeritus, Church of the Holy Advent,
Clinton, CT

The Rev.Dr. Dean Ahlberg
Senior Minister
First Church of Christ, Congregational Redding, CT

The Rev. Dr. Paul C. Hayes, pastor
Noank Baptist Church, Noank CT 06340

John Bach,
Quaker Chaplain at Harvard

Allie Perry
Shalom United Church of Christ

The Rev'd Charlotte K. White
Retired Chaplain, State of CT

To add your name to the letter which will be a private letter to UNH and later an open letter, send an email to davidwgood@fccol.org

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