(Mondoweiss) November 16, 2015 – Settler Colonialism in Palestine is at its core transnational, requiring institutional alliances on military and economic fronts.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon on August 31, 1950 (Son of Fawzi Francis Kobti and Verginie Elias El-Sharif). Studied at the Latin Patriarchate Seminary of Jerusalem from 1963-1975. Worked as a teacher at Terra Santa College 1973-1974 (Franciscan Fathers of the Custody of the Holy...Read More
Seeking truth and justice
(Latin Patriarchate of Jersualem) November 24, 2015 – On Sunday November 22nd, 2015, a Mass took place in St. Catherine Church in Bethlehem in remembrance of victims who had fallen as a result of terrorist attacks in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, France, Russia, Mali and other countries. The Mass was organized at the request of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas by the municipality of Bethlehem, the Higher Committee for Churches’ Affairs in Palestine and the Latin Parish in Bethlehem.Read More
…it seems that instead of beginning with theology, a “practical ecumenism” that forces faith communities to confront shared problems in the world together is the best way forward.
by Christopher Hale
(Crux) November 20, 2015 – Last week I was in northern Iraq studying the work of World Vision and other Christian aid organizations in response to the refugee crisis in the Middle East. While there I spent time with a young priest who opened my eyes to the reality that when it comes to terrorism, not only do denominational lines not matter much, they might very well fade away when dealing with the realities of life inside a war zone.Read More
(abouna.org) Baghdad, November 20, 2015 – Iraqi President Muhammad Fuad Masum stressed, on November 19, that “the presence of Christians in Iraq is historical since they are an inherent component of the country.”
He added, while receiving the credentials of new Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin who conveyed the greetings of His Holiness Pope Francis, that “strengthening relations with the Vatican is a prime Iraqi concern.” He also reiterated “the importance of the presence of Christians in the country, of their positive role in the construction of Iraq, and of the preservation of religious and sectarian diversity.”Read More
Asks for More Help in Keeping Christians in Their Homeland
This report is contributed by Oliver Maksan and Clare Creegan of Aid to the Church in Need.
(Zenit) November 24, 2015 – A Lebanese archbishop has called on Europe to rethink the conflict in Syria following the attacks in Paris.
Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Issam John Darwish of Zahle and Furzol in Lebanon said he believed the attacks in France were inevitable.
“We have always known that ISIS is a danger to the whole world. But Europe hasn’t taken it seriously,” he said.
The archbishop said that the attacks by the Islamist terrorist organisation Daesh (ISIS) should cause Europe to rethink its policy with regards to the Syrian conflict.
Archbishop Darwish called for greater action, adding: “It’s time to fight ISIS together with the Syrian government: “Only then will we be able to see how to move on in Syria.”Read More
The 2016 United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week is coming and you can be one of the winners of the annual prizes and awards that are worth over $50,000. A prize will be given to each of the three best events or texts organized during the UN WIHW (first week of February) which best promote the goals of the WIHW. Start organizing and promoting your event(s) now to get a head start on the competition.Read More
Madani [Director of the Baptism Site Commission] noted that tourism in Jordan witnessed a decline with the unrest in the region, but the way forward is to promote Jordan as a safe zone that holds religious and historical significance.
by Suzanna Goussous
(The Jordan Times) November 21, 2015 – At a time when heritage is being destroyed in some countries around the world, local authorities are working to preserve historical sites in several areas of the Kingdom, officials said on Saturday.Read More
(abouna.org) November 22, 2015 – Hundreds of Christian youth in Jordan have explicitly announced their faith in the God of Life, the Living God, the God of Love and Peace, as well as their “disbelief” and renunciation of acts that tarnish the image of God by killing, destruction, and labeling others as infidels. They also expressed their rejection of all forms of terrorism.Read More
The church fully supports the Kremlin’s decision to intervene in Syria, both as a ‘war on terrorism’ and to protect Middle Eastern Christians it sees as its responsibility.
by Fred Weir
(Christian Science Monitor) November 23, 2015 – For many in the West, the idea that a church would take an overtly hawkish stance in the conflict in Syria is an utterly foreign concept.
But then, the Russian Orthodox Church is not of the West, says Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the church’s most recognizable spokesperson, in his spartan downtown Moscow office.
“The idea that church and state should be alienated from each other is not a characteristic of Orthodox civilization,” insists the wispy-bearded senior cleric, whose eyes almost seem to burn. “It’s a characteristic of the West.”Read More
No one usually bothers to link any of [the atrocious acts committed by Christians] to the belief system of the rank-and-file Christian faithful. No one thinks the little old lady sitting her pew reading Corinthians is responsible for any of that. No one thinks they need to answer for it, or justify it. Nor should we feel those who pray fives times a day in the direction of Mecca are somehow responsible for the acts of madmen, either.
By Frank Vyan Walton
(ailykos.com) November 22, 2015 – In the wake of attacks by the outlaw death cult Da’esh against a Russian airplane, in Beirut, and in Paris in recent days, a firestorm of debate has erupted over how to handle Syrian refugees as well as other Muslims. Suggestions run the gamut from multiple claims that only Christian Syrians should be allowed into the U.S., to arguments that mosques should be closed. Others have said Muslims should be marked and registered and that Islam is a philosophy of violence and murder.
The base argument has been that Da’esh and other terrorist death cults have all been Islamic and that this kind of barbarism is a unique and inherent portion of Islam, as one recent comment noted to me here:
Violent jihad was baked right into Islam by Muhammad himself, who used militancy to spread Islam.
Some argue this same militant streak is a base feature of Islam because of passages such as this:
Quran, 048:29: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves;
Yet the truth—which is often forgotten—is that the origins of Islam stem directly from both Christianity and Judaism, and that you can find similar passages in both the Old Testament and Talmud. You can also find more than a few Christian death cults not only in history, but in the present.
Buckle in, because listing just the highlights of radical extremist Christianity is gonna take some time.
Caritas Jerusalem denounces “the violations of the basic human rights and calls upon the international community to intervene and end the ongoing worsening situation that is taking lives day in and day out”.
(Agenzia Fides) Jerusalem, November 21, 2015 – With each passing day the people of the Holy Land “are losing any sense of empathy, any sense of mutual understanding of our common humanity and common future”. This is how the message released by Caritas Jerusalem begins in view of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, sent to Agenzia Fides. The text, signed by Fr. Raed Abusahlia, director general of Caritas Jerusalem, reaffirms that “peace must be built on rights for all and protection for all” because “the collective punishment of the Palestinians must cease immediately. Detention without charge or trial, home demolitions, closures at checkpoints and other methods that punish indiscriminately have devastating effects on the daily life of Palestinians and only increase animosity and intolerance”.Read More
Interview conducted by Manuella Affejee
(Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) November 23, 2015 – Some 240 000 dead – of whom 12 000 children – 12 million people need emergency relief, millions of refugees and displaced: that’s according to the latest statistics the record of the armed conflict which has hit Syria for the past four years.
Many Christian opted to flee away in huge numbers; many chose to stay, namely in Aleppo, in the North of the country, taken between two fires, namely that of Bachar Al Assad’s army and that of the rebels. Two priests and three nuns from the Institute of the Incarnate Word are there for the moment. It was for the purpose of visiting them that Fr Marcelo, Provincial of this Argentine Congregation, went to Aleppo.
How do you describe the situation over there?
There are many damaged neighborhoods round Aleppo. Rebels called “moderate” and fundamentalist surround the city. Sounds of shooting is heard regularly, exchange of fires, raids.Read More
It is the policy of Al-Bushra to include posts in which the language is civil and respectful; occasionally, however, exceptions are made. The following letter, written by a justifiably angry Antiochian Orthodox Christian priest, is his unedited response to Dr. Ben Carson’s reference to Syrians as rabid dogs. Please see below for a brief biography of Father Theodorus Daoud.
Dear rabid dog Dr. Ben Carson,
I hope this word will not offend you, doctor. If it does, I don’t care because you have offended each one of the 9 million Syrian refugees by calling them rabid dogs. You, along with every politician who caused Syria—the land of Saint Peter and Paul, the Apostles and the saints—to bleed to death, are evil rabid dogs.Read More
Christopher Hale summarizes his trip to Europe and the Middle East.
* * *
To the poor, he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; and to those in sorrow, joy.”
This is the way the Church describes Jesus’s ministry, and this is the reality of faith that I’ve experienced the past two weeks from both the Church’s peripheries and from its heart.
From war-torn Iraq to Rome, I’ve seen the missionary Church that Jesus longs for us to be: a Church on the margins, a Church that is poor for the poor, a Church that heals wounds and warm hearts, a Church that is always a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, and forgiven.
In Iraq, the Christians I met weren’t concerned about the appropriate design of their Starbucks cup. They were concerned about their survival as a community. They were concerned about finding refuge for their children and their neighbors. And they sought not only our prayers, but our tangible support.Read More
Church leaders are trying to counter this “can’t be too careful” approach with the Bible, which repeatedly exhorts: “Do not be afraid.”
by Lauren Markoe / Religion News Service
(National Catholic Reporter) November 21, 2015 – Religious groups are pushing back against a wave of opposition toward Syrian refugees and working to preserve the U.S. as a haven for them.
“We’re really in emergency mode,” said Jen Smyers, director of policy and advocacy for the Immigration and Refugee Program at Church World Service, one of the nine U.S. nonprofits that work with the federal government to resettle refugees.
“We’re talking to the media nonstop. We are sending letters and petitions and making phone calls to all the governors as well as to members of Congress right now,” she said. “Every voice is needed to make sure they understand just how important the resettlement program is.”Read More
About 70 percent of all refugees admitted to the U.S. are resettled by faith groups, according to the U.S. State Department office for refugees.
(Associated Press) November 21, 2015 – In rare agreement across faith and ideological lines, leaders of major American religious groups have condemned proposed bans on Syrian refugees, contending a legitimate debate over security has been overtaken by irrational fear and prejudice.Read More
A new NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll shows that 56 percent of Americans want to ban these refugees from the U.S. Here is the response of several faith based organizations:Read More
(tikkun) November 22, 2015 – Please call your Senators to tell them you Welcome Syrian Refugees and urge them to vote “NO” if a bill comes to the Senate for a vote to make it more stringent to accept refugees from Syria and Iraq to the US. You can call the Capitol Switchboard on Monday or Tuesday at 202 224-3121. If you do not know the names of your two senators, just give the Capitol operator your state and you will be connected. You can also call their state offices by googling them to get the phone number.
Refugees coming to the US are already subject to lengthy, stringent clearance requirements. In the busyness of preparing for the holidays, let us not forget these are people who have lost everything. Imagine being bombed and having no place to go, and one after another country saying “we do not want you.” It is winter, it is cold, and many are sleeping outside, waiting at the borders of several European countries. The countries that are doing the bombing – US, Russia, France, including the coalition of the willing who started it all with the Iraq war – have a responsibility to take in the refugees. We broke it, we own it, now we need to take care of the people whose lives have been destroyed by the wars we helped start (no, not just us, but also us–and we live in the wealthiest country in the world and can afford to take in a significant number of the homeless). And “no,” these refugees do not present a danger to the general public–we already have careful policies in place to ensure that we would not be accepting people who are ISIS operatives intent on hurting us.Read More
Following the attacks in Paris on November 13 and the authorization of security measures including the prohibition of the travel of children, the Little Singers of the Wooden Cross regret to inform you that their November 2015 concert tour has been cancelled.
The Little Singers of Paris [of the wooden cross] ask, “Why all these wars?”
To all the World, we say,
There’s no religion, that preaches
hatred, death and blood.
Why kill the innocent?
Why destroy, hurt us
We want to live, and not to die!
…terrorist groups such as the Islamic State are financed, armed, and trained by the great powers, for purely economic and political interests. –Bishop George Abou Khazen, OFM
(Vatican Radio) November 14, 2015 – A Church leader in Syria is calling for the international community to stop the funding of terrorist groups, after the attacks in Paris which killed over 120 people.
“We are deeply saddened and sorry. We express our condolences and solidarity with the victims of the massacre in Paris and throughout Europe,” said Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M., the Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo.
“Terrorism is an ideology that does not spare anyone,” he told the Fides news agency. “The Syrian people understand this very well… For years, we have suffered massacres and we live in fear.”Read More
…some voices in the political and even in the religious sphere “are using the Paris attacks” to push the views they already had. –Father Tom Smolich, SJ
(Vatican Radio) November 17, 2015 – Could we see a backlash against refugees and migrants fleeing from Syria and other nations in the wake of the Paris terror attacks? That’s a question some are asking after more than a dozen U.S. states said Syrian refugees are no longer welcome due to security fears and some European countries are calling for a closing of borders to stop migrants arriving there. Father Tom Smolich, International Director of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), acknowledged this backlash is a risk but said many of the immediate reactions to the terrorist attacks arise from fear and called for the international community to move beyond its fears to make “a reasonable and appropriate response to this tragedy.”Read More
Since violence engulfed Hebron after what Amnesty International deemed the extrajudicial execution of 18 year old Hadil Hashlamoun at the end of September, the old city area of Hebron has been hit hard. People are afraid to come to the souq and so the street is largely empty. The shopkeepers are feeling the pinch as tour groups and others no longer walk through and shop. Many of them open without making anything. On some days there are shops that don’t open at all. It has become more of a ghost town again. Our friends in the souq have asked CPTers to encourage people to come to Hebron and to visit the old city. They don’t want to be forced to close. There is a very real concern that if shops close due to lack of business, that this will be encouragement for settlement expansion in Hebron’s old city.Read More
Instead of giving more aid, the United States should be addressing the root causes of the current violence and the ongoing impasse between Israel and Palestine, namely the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
Third Thursday alert: Tell Congress to reject increased military aid to Israel
Third Thursday action alerts are sent out monthly by organizations in the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, and are focused on different issues so that members of Congress hear consistently that their constituents support a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.Read More
War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and peoples. –Pope Francis addressing the Security Council on September 25, 2015
(Vatican Radio) November 18, 2015 – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the UN Security Council on Tuesday (Nov. 17).
The Security Council is currently holding an open debate on the ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security, Development and the Root Causes of Conflict’, convened by the United Kingdom.Read More
…refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women, and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes…the flesh of Christ is in the flesh of the refugees: their flesh is the flesh of Christ. –Pope Francis
(Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns) November 18, 2015 – We are shocked and saddened by the terrorist attacks in Beirut, Paris, Baghdad, Raqqa and in too many other places around the world. Our prayers are with the families and communities suffering terrible loss. We deeply believe that terror will not prevail and that the memories of those who have been killed will inspire sustainable solutions to indiscriminate violence.
We cannot, however, let our grief and fear blind us to the desperation and despair of another group of victims: the millions of refugees fleeing Syria.
More than half of all governors have recently announced that they want to stop their states from resettling Syrian refugees. And the House of Representative will vote Thursday, November 19, on a bill to stop the flow of Syrian refugees to the U.S.Read More
November 18, 2015 Sister Simone writes…
We grieve for the many victims of violence and terrorism in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris, and throughout the world. We cannot, however, let our grief and fear blind us to the desperation and despair of millions of refugees fleeing to safety from Syria. Fear cannot and must not be an excuse for inaction, or worse, a rejection of our faithful duty to respond to the urgent needs of our Syrian brothers and sisters.Read More
“Opening our door to Syrians irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
“I oppose any facility being used as a Syrian refugee center.”
“The policy of bringing [Syrian refugees] into the country is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous.”
I didn’t make those quotes up, and they’re not from the distant past — they’re from this week.
They were spoken by Greg Abbott, Asa Hutchinson, and Phil Bryant — just 3 of the 28 US governors who have vowed to close their doors to desperate refugees who need our help.
Make no mistake — these elected officials want to turn away Syrian refugees simply because most of them are Muslim. But we cannot let this bigotry stand. Not as Jews. Not as Americans. Not as citizens of the world.
Global Fund for Women staff have just returned from an in-depth visit to areas in the Middle East most impacted by the massive refugee influx. They met women on the ground who are working with refugees to better understand the immediate issues facing women and girls, as well as the longer-term repercussions for women’s rights.
(globalfundforwomen.org) November 18, 2015
St. Yves emphasized that collective punishment measures, including punitive closures measures, accompanied by inhumane practices such as constant humiliation, body security checks and the repressive methods used against the Palestinians in East Jerusalem at checkpoints constitute a flagrant violation of international law and international humanitarian law.
November 11, 2015 – The Society of St. Yves Catholic Center for Human Rights demanded the Israeli authorities in an official correspondence addressed to the Police and Security Minister to put an end with an immediate effect to the policy of punitive closures imposed on Occupied East Jerusalem Palestinians, causing the disruption of all aspects of their daily lives.Read More
Notable Christian charities, usually Evangelical in nature, are showering Israeli settlements with millions of dollars. The Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC), the Hebron Fund, and the renowned Christians United for Israel are all based in the US, and all of which fund illegal Israeli settlements and structures in the West Bank.
(Mondoweiss) November 16, 2015 – Settler Colonialism in Palestine is at its core transnational, requiring institutional alliances on military and economic fronts.
by Barbara Erickson
November 13, 2013 –
In The New York Times it’s all part of a high stakes game, the good guys (Israelis) against the bad guys (Palestinians), and this time the good guys won, taking the prize through clever and audacious disguises.
Such is the tone of Isabel Kershner’s story today that tells of yet another outrage by Israel: Special forces invaded a hospital in Hebron, held the staff at gunpoint, killed a visitor point blank and kidnapped a patient recovering from surgery.
Condemnation of this atrocity and other recent attacks on Palestinian hospitals has come from Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross and a half dozen United Nations agencies, but none of their criticisms are included in the Times story.Read More