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Syrian-Americans Rally Against Ongoing Violence In Their Homeland

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By Syma Chowdhry

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Father Anthony Sabbagh, of St. George’s Orthodox Church in Allentown, is speaking out against the violence in his native country, Syria — and that includes possible U.S. involvement.

“All American people of good intent who love their country should speak up on this issue,” Father Sabbagh says.

And that’s what hundreds of people did.

Lehigh Valley is home to one of the largest Syrian-American communities in the country.

The protestors support the Syrian government and believe the rebels are extremists who are against modern Muslims and Christians.

“The Christians are being slaughtered one by one,” one person said.

When asked about last week’s chemical attack, many Syrian-Americans in the area say they believe the U.S. has incorrect information, pinning the attack on the rebels instead.

Father Anthony compares a war with Syria to the Iraqi War.

“Don’t repeat the same mistake again. Our young men are dying. Soldiers are not just to be wasted,” he says.

“We are fighting for our right to decide what’s good for our country,” says May Issa, a Syrian-American.

Today’s rally turned into a march as protestors hit the streets, walking about a mile and half to City Hall and the Federal Building, all in the hopes of the U.S. government hearing their message.

“This kind of democracy that you are trying to send to our country; we don’t need it. The democracy of killing people, killing kids,” said Nayirouz Al-Khatib, a Syrian-American.

The protestors say President Obama is supporting terrorism if he sides with the rebels.

And, with the UN Security Council in a deadlock and Britain rejecting action against Syria, these protestors hope the U.S. will step back.

“The most people who will get hurt are the Syrian people, because it is going to be on our property, in our country,” says Fayaz Abboud.

“Everything can be done, but not through war,” agrees Issa.

One thing remains the same for these Syrian Americans:

“In order to love Syria, you have to love America.”

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