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Christian Faith Leaders to Meet with Iraqi Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Salim, in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, April 23

Contact: Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Christian Defense Coalition, 540-538-4742; Kristopher Keating, 860-250-4792

WASHINGTON, April 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- Group to discuss the first ever student exchange between Iraq and the United States with Minister along with other ways to build bridges between the two countries.

This discussion came after a historic trip to Baghdad and meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and Christian leaders from America.

In July of 2007, the Christian Defense Coalition organized and led a delegation to meet and pray with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and his Cabinet members.

From that meeting, leaders from both countries talked about positive, practical and tangible ways Iraq and the United States could forge stronger relationships of openness, conversation and trust.

Members of the news and media are invited to attend the meeting which will be held on Thursday, April 23 at 4:30 P.M.

The location of the gathering is 109 2nd Street NE in Washington, D.C.  (Right behind the United States Supreme Court.)

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states,

"We are delighted and honored to have this meeting with the Iraqi Minister of Human Rights,

"It is critical at this time that the United States, especially the Christian community, stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq as they begin their incredible and difficult journey toward freedom.  We must do all within our power to help Iraqis realize their dreams for their children and the future of their nation.

"We believe an important first step is implementing programs like this student exchange as we strengthen and nurture the bonds between our two countries.

"This meeting shows that the power of faith can reach out beyond political and religious divides and bring healing and hope to the most challenging of situations."

Kristopher Keating, Director of the Hillside Missions Organization and organizer of the students exchange program adds,

"This exchange between communities of Iraq and the United States presents an unprecedented opportunity to broaden perspectives, embrace cultural diversities, build meaningful relationships and demonstrate the Christian and universal principle of love.

"Culture is not sacred, but it is an essential element of our identities.

"So many Iraqi children have lived in an environment of violent conflict.  This program gives American families the privelege and opportunity to invest in the lives of those young people.

"We anticipate the program to be a positively life-changing event for the participants and we recognize the potential for larger-scale impact as the result of this collaboration."

For more information or interviews call:

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney  540.538.4742

Kristopher Keating   860.250.4792