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An effort to generate 1 million postcards for President Bush urging his intervention to stop the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, is halfway to its goal.

A coalition of faith-based groups and humanitarian organizations says more than 500,000 Americans have signed postcards asking the president to support a “stronger multi-national force to protect the civilians of Darfur.”

According to a statement from the Save Darfur Coalition, the postcards will be delivered to Washington Sunday as part of a rally that will feature House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va.

“Faith-based leaders nationwide are urging their congregations to speak out in the face of this humanitarian crisis and urge the president to take action,” said the Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D., chair of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign.

Scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern on the National Mall, the rally, entitled “SAVE DARFUR: Rally to Stop Genocide,” is to feature as speakers: Pelosi, Wolf, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Paul Rusesabagina, Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Olympic speed skating gold and silver medalist Joey Cheek, who donated his $40,000 U.S. Olympic Committee bonus to benefit Darfuri children.

The rape, pillaging and slaughter of blacks in western Sudan by the Islamist Khartoum regime and its Arab militia allies was first officially called “genocide” in 2004 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

According to the coalition, the genocide has killed an estimated 300,000 people in the Darfur region and has left 3.5 million Dafuris dependent on foreign aid for their survival.

Stakes in Sudan have risen since the weekend when al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in a message broadcast on al-Jazeera TV, urged his followers to go to Sudan to fight United Nations forces stationed there.

“I call on mujahedeen and their supporters, especially in Sudan and the Arab peninsula, to prepare for long war again the crusader plunderers in Western Sudan,” said bin Laden. “Our goal is not defending the Khartoum government but to defend Islam, its land and its people. I urge holy warriors to be acquainted with the land and the tribes in Darfur.”

Postcards can be sent to Bush via the Million Voices for Darfur website.



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