(custodia.org & abouna.org) February 23, 2016 – A new abbess was elected on Friday, February 19. In the quiet convent chapel, one sister made the last arrangements before the ceremony, which was presided over by Monsignor. Soon thereafter, you could hear the sisters approaching, as they processed over from the cloister, accompanied by the Patriarch and Br. Stéphane Milovich, OFM, the patriach’s delegate for the the community.
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal announced the results of election. The new elected sisters were Sister Mariachiara Bosco, as mother abbess; Chiara Cristiana Ianni, as vicar, and Sister Mary of Nazareth Munganyiki, the latest arrival to the community, as discreet.
After the results were announced, the Patriarch handed a sign of responsibility [to the abbess, the keys and the seal of the monastery. When asked about the significance of this election, Sister Mariachiara said: “It is not a question of democracy within the community. Saint Clare said that the abbess is the servant of all of the sisters and at the service of the unity of the community. She is a sister among her sisters but with the role of unity, guidance, but especially service.”
The convent of Saint Clare in Jerusalem was founded in 1888 by a French community of Paray-le-Monial. Since the overhaul in 2008, with the help of the patriarch and the Father Custos, this place of prayer is now linked to the Italian city of Assisi. Today, the community is composed of eleven sisters of three different nationalities (Italian, French and Rwandan).Read More
The new book of the Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah was presented on February 18 at the Yabous Cultural Center of Jerusalem. Among the participants, various prominent personalities from the Holy Land.
(Christian Media Center) Jerusalem, February 26, 2016 – ‘Daily thoughts from Jerusalem’. This is the title of the new book by Michel Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of the holy city, presented Thursday, February 18, in the ‘Marrakesh’ hall of the Yabous Cultural Center. On stage: Prof. Samia Khoury and Dr. Nazmi Al Joubi, a professor at Birzeit University, in the presence of the governor of the city Adnan Husseini, director of the Center “Al Liqa”. Also present: Father Rafiq Khoury and Issa Qassasiya, Palestinian ambassador to the Vatican.
H.B. Mons. MICHEL SABBAH
Latin Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem
“First of all, I wrote daily thoughts: one thought per day.
Secondly , the book focuses on charity, since charity is the basic virtue of Christianity: he who loves is a Christian, he who loves is a human being. We need love in all fields: love in our relationships with other people and between the different religions and nations, as well as love among us Christians.”
Many people from the audience participated by asking questions to the patriarch, who stressed that he decided to collect his thoughts in the pages of a book to have them available for the readers, who will be able to return to their content, which would be a starting point of reflection and meditation in their daily life.Read More
by Samia Khoury, Jerusalem
Friday, February 20, 2016 was a memorable occasion as many people from Ramallah and Jerusalem gathered at the Naseeb Shaheen Auditorium at Birzeit University to attend a concert. We were sorry that Naseeb had passed away before seeing this great achievement completed. In fact the auditorium is the fourth building on the campus contributed by the Shaheen family.
The young musicians of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music were privileged to join the Palestine National Orchestra and a few guests from the Geneva Conservatory of Music in the last of three performances under the baton of the Swiss and Australian conductor Elena Schwarz. They had already been in Bethlehem, and in Nablus at Al-Najah University. The program included a composition by Salvador Arnita, a Palestinian who had taught at Birzeit when it was a high school before 1948 (Images of Palestine, from Suite no. 4 “Oriental Sketches.” It also included “Wedding,” composed by the renowned Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh, who was the first Arab to win the top prize at the Nocolay Rubinstein International Competition in Moscow in 1997.Read More
Is Egypt the key?
by Andrea Gagliarducci
Vatican City, Feb 25, 2016 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For Pope Francis, dialogue with Islam is a core issue. He recently voiced hopes to meet a major Sunni leader: the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Ahmed el-Tayeb.
“I want to meet him. I know that he would like it,” the Pope said during his Feb. 18 in-flight press conference.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, is reaching out to al-Azhar Mosque.
“We are looking for the way, always through Cardinal Tauran because it is the path, but we will achieve it,” Pope Francis said on his flight from Mexico to Italy.Read More
Until the repressive, dysfunctional conditions in the Middle East that give rise to terrorism change, Al Qaeda and its offshoots will have staying power.
by Margot Patterson
(America Magazine the National Catholic Review) February 15, 2016 – Osama bin Laden has been dead almost five years now, but the movement associated with him is still very much around. The Islamic State may have eclipsed Al Qaeda in the terror it holds for Americans, or the attraction it holds for young Muslims flocking to its self-proclaimed caliphate, but the terror group that the United States went to war with in 2001 is alive and well, with branches today in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa. Al Qaeda mounted attacks in Mali in November and in Burkina Faso in January. In December, it was reported that Al Qaeda training camps have reappeared in Afghanistan.
Back in 2004, the U.S. government claimed to have eviscerated Al Qaeda’s leadership. Since then, U.S. leaders have periodically declared Al Qaeda neutralized, its leaders killed, its ranks decimated. But despite billions of dollars spent on destroying the group, Al Qaeda in the last three years has expanded its control and influence. A recent report on it by the American Enterprise Institute notes that it is stronger than ever, with affiliates in more than 20 countries.
If the reports of Al Qaeda’s demise were greatly exaggerated, so were a number of other assertions made about it in the past, according to Flagg Miller, a professor of religious studies at the University of California, Davis. Mr. Miller translated Osama bin Laden’s audio collection after it was confiscated by U.S. forces in 2002. Discovered in a house where bin Laden had lived in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from 1997 to 2001, the tapes feature 200 speakers, ranging from bin Laden himself to other Al Qaeda members to scholars to whom militants turned for religious inspiration and instruction.
Mr. Miller spent years translating the 1,500 audio tapes, which offer a rare window into what Al Qaeda members thought and said about their actions and intentions. In his new book, The Audacious Ascetic: What the bin Laden Tapes Reveal about Al-Qa’ida, Mr. Miller reports that both Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were frequently misrepresented by Western officials and media.Read More
by Adnan Abu Zeed*
(Al Monitor) UZAIR, Iraq, February 15, 2016 – Jews reportedly built the tomb of the Prophet Ezra in Iraq in the fifth century, and the site has undergone many changes since.
The tomb is in the town of Uzair, which is the Arabic version of the name Ezra, and the shrine has taken on many Islamic aspects. The shrine contains Hebrew scriptures and Jewish symbols, and Quranic verses and Islamic inscriptions. It was turned into an Islamic landmark following the mass exodus of the Jews of Iraq to Israel in the 1950s.Read More
(AhlulBayt News Agency) February 23, 2016 – ISIS yesterday released the last of some 230 Assyrian Christians kidnapped a year ago in Syria after receiving millions of dollars in ransom, Christian officials said.
Younan Talia, of the Assyrian Democratic Organisation, said about 40 remaining Christian captives were released early today and are on their way to the northeastern town of Tal Tamr.
Younan said the release came after mediation led by a top Assyrian priest in northern Syria.
The extremists captured the Assyrians, members of an ancient Christian sect, last February after overrunning several communities on the southern bank of the Khabur River in northeastern Hassakeh province.Read More
Consulat Général de France à Jérusalem: Israel/Palestinian territories – Dismantlement of humanitarian projects
Statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson
February 23, 2016 – France condemns the dismantlement by the Israeli army, during the night of February 20- 21, of an elementary school under construction which was funded by the French humanitarian aid in Abu Nuwar, in the West bank.
This project is located in an area considered by the European Union as key to the viability of the Two-State solution.Read More
by Sibel Hurtas*
(Al Monitor) February 9, 2016 – For Turkey’s tiny Protestant community, 2015 was a year marked by threats and attacks against their churches and leaders. A report by the Protestant Churches Association on human rights violations documents a series of attacks and obstacles that Protestants faced over the course of last year, including physical attacks and verbal harassment. Judicial authorities showed no compunction to respond to their complaints about such offenses. In addition, the government excluded the community from its meetings with religious minorities. In the words of community leader Ihsan Ozbek, Turkey’s Protestants are today an “anxious and distressed” community.Read More
Contributed by Myriam Ambroselli
(Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) Cologne, Germany, February 2016 – Regarding the Syrian tragedy and Islamic fundamentalism, Bishop William Shomali stressed that such a change “could come from within Islam.” He recalled the initiatives of President al-Sisi in Egypt and his speech at the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo for a revival of Islamic religious discourse, to eliminate any drift towards fanaticism. Bishop Shomali also cited an open letter to the Muslim world by the French Muslim philosopher, Abdennour Bidar. The letter invites Islam, in the grip of a deep crisis, with the challenge of facing contemporary problems, to a genuine dialogue with Western societies. According to Abdenour Bidar, Islam must question the place in society of a religion that would want totalitarian jihadism.Read More