"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

How Evangelical Christians risk setting the Middle East on fire

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

By Jonathan Cook*

Image: Televangelist TB Joshua, a Nigerian evangelical preacher, touches a man's head as he leads a religious retreat on Mount Precipice, Nazareth on 23 June (Reuters)

Televangelist TB Joshua, a Nigerian evangelical preacher, touches a man’s head as he leads a religious retreat on Mount Precipice, Nazareth on 23 June (Reuters)

The recent arrival of Africa’s most popular televangelist preacher, TB Joshua, to address thousands of foreign pilgrims in Nazareth produced a mix of consternation and anger in the city of Jesus’s childhood.

There was widespread opposition from Nazareth’s political movements, as well as from community groups and church leaders, who called for a boycott of his two rallies. They were joined by the council of muftis, which described the events as “a red line for faith in religious values”.

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New Institutes of Coptic Studies are spreading in public universities

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

 

Alexandria of Egypt (Agenzia Fides) – With an unprecedented initiative, Egyptian political institutions have decided to invest resources to support the opening of institutes, centers and departments in public universities dedicated to the study and enhancement of the Coptic language and cultural heritage. The first institute of Coptic Studies was already inaugurated at the University of Alexandria, in collaboration with the Coptic Orthodox Church. A similar initiative is being undertaken at the faculty of artistic studies of the University of Damanhour. Even the buildings intended to house these institutions have been designed, inspired by the typical forms of Coptic architecture.

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The project to find new jobs for young Christians in the Gaza Strip is starting to bear fruit

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

Gaza (Agenzia Fides, 8/7/2019) – The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in cooperation of the Holy Family Parish, launched the job creation and capacity building program in the Gaza Strip. Nine months later, the 20 Christian youth benefiting from the program are reaping the fruits of their work and seeing the new career prospects of this project. Started in October 2018, the program has completed the first phase of training and apprenticeship – which lasted 9 months. The work start-up program was able to accommodate only a third out of 60 applicants that submitted their candidacy for the program, and fill in positions in religious, educational, social, medical and development institutions, such as those carried out by the Aisha Association for the protection of women and minors, for a period of 12 months.

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When the voice of wisdom and logic resounds

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader, abouna.org

In Kafranja, Jordan’s city of culture for 2019, the Shafa Cultural Community has held a conference at the Young Women’s Association of Kafranja on “the role of tribal customs and traditions in conflict resolution and in the attainment of community peace.” A number of elders of the Jordanian tribes, known for their influential and effective role in society, took part in the conference. We listened to their addresses in which they identified the role they play in enhancing security, stability, and social peace in cooperation with the security apparatuses.

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Jerusalem: Stadium of Saint James Church in Beit Hanina attacked

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

 

Jerusalem-en.abouna.org On Friday evening, July 12, anonymous assailants committed an attack from the side of Naveh Yaacov Settlement (northeast Jerusalem) on the stadium of Saint James Roman Catholic Church at Beit Hanina, during which yogurt boxes and tomatoes were thrown on participants at festival organized by the church at the presence of hundreds of faithful.

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Bishop Shomali: “The AUM aims to have generations qualified educationally”

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

MADABA – The American University of Madaba (AUM) celebrated the graduation of the fifth class of its students on Saturday, July 6, 2019, under the patronage of H. E Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with the presence of Bishop William Shomali, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and members of the board of trustees, University President Dr. Nabil Ayoub, deans of faculties, academic and administrative members of staff, graduate students and their families, and a large number of guests. 

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Heads of Jerusalem Churches hold prayer rally in protest of Jaffa Gate properties case

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

JERUSALEM – On Thursday, July 11, 2019, the Heads of Jerusalem Churches held a prayer rally near Jaffa Gate’s Imperial and Petra Hotels, in protest of Israel’s Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the appeal made by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate against the sale of three of its properties to settlers’ group.

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More links from Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, in his Palestinian Christians newsletter, shares links to the following items of interest:

Open Letter to Chairman of the PLO and President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas [by Sam Bahour] http://bit.ly/open-letter-abbas

Israeli Defense Ministry dep’t is dedicated to covering up evidence of the Nakba — ‘Haaretz’
https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/ministry-dedicated-covering/
https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/ministry-dedicated-covering/amp/

Impunity remains: Attacks on health care in 23 countries (Israeli attacks on Palestinain healthcare highlighted)
https://reliefweb.int/report/world/impunity-remains-attacks-health-care-23-countries-conflict-2018

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Archbishop Pizzaballa: Christians in the Holy Land, weavers of peaceful relations

Posted on Jul 13, 2019

MONACO – July 9, 2019 – Politicians, journalists, photographers and a few other professional persons often share the dizzying experience of being able to observe the course of history while it happens. One such privileged observer is none other than Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate since 2016 and, a long time before, Custos of the Holy Land. For almost thirty years, he’s been living in the Holy Land and can observe the development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the viewpoint of the very small Christian minority still living in the places of Jesus’ public ministry.

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A Palestinian Christian Story: The Cucumber and the Cactus

Posted on Jul 9, 2019

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

The following; written 17 years ago and published November 7, 2002 in Northeast Magazine (Hartford); indirectly explains why I came back to Palestine in 2008

There is something uniquely spiritual, yet uniquely primeval, in people connected to a land. Even for those of us who work in a sophisticated and mobile culture, simply to get our hands into the earth, or to walk around our gardens, is a pleasure.

We biologists recognize this as an unbroken link to our pasts, the time when hunter/gatherers became farmers. A hundred thousand years of evolution are more powerful than a lifelong incubation in an industrialized society and in our rat race of work and more work.

For Palestinians, our connection to the land is part of our fabric. After all, for more than 90 percent of us, agriculture was our livelihood from time immemorial. Our culture is imbued with agrarian terminology and instinct, and 55 years of living as refugees has neither obliterated nor diminished this instinct.

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2020 Choice: “In Your Face” or “Weasel Words”

Posted on Jul 8, 2019

We can only pray, work, and hope.

by James M. Wall

On Sunday, June 16, leaders of the nationalist bromance between Israel and the Trump government took one small step for tyranny and one huge step for “in your face” diplomacy.

In case you missed it, UPI circulated the story that Israel had ceremoniously named a small Golan Heights future settlement, “Trump Heights”, to honor the best friend Israel has ever had in the Washington, D.C. White House.

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Peace Now demonstrated outside the inaugural ceremony for the “Pilgrimage Road” tunnel at Jerusalem’s Old City Basin

Posted on Jul 7, 2019

 

Americans for Peace Now


Last Sunday [June 30, 2019], we at Peace Now demonstrated outside the inaugural ceremony for the “Pilgrimage Road” tunnel at Jerusalem’s Old City Basin.

While the tunnel exposes a meaningful archeological discovery, it was built recklessly by the settler group Elad under the homes of the Palestinian residents of Silwan, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as part of their future capital.

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This Palestinian hip hop group’s new record is a feminist rallying cry

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

…every aspect of our life is connected somehow to politics. But that’s not all we have or all we are. Maysa Daw

by Eloise Blondiau

July 5, 2019 – When Maysa Daw was a teenager, she remembers going to a concert by DAM, which calls itself the first ever Palestinian hip-hop group, and asking herself: “Would I be able to sing with them someday?”

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An evening at the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem for the sixth year of Pope Francis’ Pontificate

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

Yes, Jerusalem is the home of all the spiritual descendants of Abraham  for whom the Holy City is immensely precious, a source of hope, a treasure of their spiritual heritage, an icon of their aspiration to peace and harmony.  H.E. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Delegate

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The Media and their role in defending the truth

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

A two-day international conference to reflect on the dialogue between religions and peoples in the Middle East was held in the Jordanian capital, Amman, from June 18 to 20. “The Media and their role in defending the truth”. This is the title of the meeting promoted by the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the East, the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media, the Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation between the leaders and religious institutions of the Arab world and the Jordanian Tourist Office.

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Maryknoll Middle East Notes: Five Articles

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

 

The five articles and secondary links in this issue of the Middle East Notes focus on the Trump administration’s economic peace plan and meeting in Bahrain and reactions by Palestinian political and business leaders, events and discussion of politics and human rights related to Israel-Palestine, the involvement of U.S. companies in the production of weapons used against civilians in Gaza, the support from Israelis for ending the blockade in Gaza and the recommendation of a senior advisor to the European Court of Justice for products from Israeli occupied territories to be labelled as such to inform consumers. Finally, a link to the latest Churches for Middle East Peace Bulletin is provided.
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Unchanged human nature in a dramatically changing world

Posted on Jul 5, 2019

Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh writes in his Palestinian Christians newsletter of July 4, 2019

This morning I took a group of seven volunteers to watch the sunrise in the desert area near Mar Saba. The stillness and beauty of the area caused me to then sit down and write this blog which reflects my thoughts on a dramatically changing world but essentially an unchanged human nature and interactions and the therapy of good deeds.

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US consultation on Middle East reaffirms “persistent hope” for peace

Posted on Jul 4, 2019

WCC News spoke to Rev. Douglas Leonard, coordinator of the Ecumenical United Nations Office and World Council of Churches (WCC) representative to the United Nations in New York, after attending a summit in Washington D.C. that brought together some 45 representatives of churches and faith-based organizations committed to developing an advocacy plan that responds to the current political situation in the Holy Land.

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Inspection of Happy Child House and Syriac Cultural Center – Damascus

Posted on Jul 4, 2019


Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch

On June 25, 2019, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II inspected the Happy Child House Summer Camp, and the works in progress at the Syriac Cultural Center in Harat Al-Yahud in Old Damascus.

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Pope gives relics of St. Peter to Orthodox patriarch

Posted on Jul 4, 2019

by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, Jul 2, 2019

ROME – In what Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople described as a “brave and bold” gesture, Pope Francis gave the patriarch a famous reliquary containing bone fragments believed to belong to St. Peter.

The only time the bronze reliquary has been displayed publicly was in November 2013, when Francis had it present for public veneration as he celebrated the closing Mass for the Year of Faith, opened by Pope Benedict XVI.

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Another Greeting from Palestine on the Fourth of July

Posted on Jul 4, 2019

Maria Khoury writes from Taybeh

We wish all of our American friends a Happy Independence Day…very fun Fourth of July celebrations to all!

In the past, Taybeh Beer was always served for Fourth of July celebrations in Jerusalem, and it was a great honor to sponsor consulate events. But with President Trump moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it’s such a loud voice for making the Holy City Jewish only! Palestinians don’t have much to celebrate this July 4th. They continue to be last-class citizens in a country that is not recognized as their own.

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Palestinian Christian Sends Fourth of July Greetings to Americans

Posted on Jul 3, 2019

Samia Khoury writes from East Jerusalem

My Dear American friends:

I have been thinking of you and what message can I possibly send you on your Independence day on the Fourth of July.  Many of you have been on my list and have checked my blog and my writings for some time now.  Many of you have also read my book,  Reflections from Palestine:  A Journey of Hope, and your solidarity with our people, and for the cause of justice has been amazing.

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Jewish Voice for Peace: “U.S. Jews are tired of this”

Posted on Jul 1, 2019

by Rebecca Vilkomerson
Executive Director

Last week, Trump and Kushner made clear, yet again, that the real goal of their economic plan for the Middle East is not political solutions and peace, but land acquisition for Israel and control of Palestinian lives and futures.

And right before the Bahrain workshop, David Friedman, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, effectively gave a thumbs up to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to annex the West Bank.

This is just the latest effort in a decades-long strategy to exert control over Palestinians and their land. We see it with Israeli soldiers and bulldozers razing Palestinian homes, the expansion of the Apartheid Wall, and the growth of still more Israeli settlements.

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Shibly: the testimony of a Holy Sepulcher Kawas

Posted on Jun 29, 2019

Shibley established a family and began his career, recalling the main role played by the Custody of the Holy Land in preserving the remaining “Living Stones” in this land…. “Believe me, If the Franciscans were not here in the Holy Land, there will be no Christians here.”

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THE FEAST OF THE BIRTH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST IN EIN KAREM

Posted on Jun 28, 2019

Prophet for some Jews, the forerunner of Christ for the Christians: the birth of St. John the Baptist is both an appointment of prayer and an opportunity for dialogue between two communities. The village of Ein Karem, nestled in the green hills at the edge of the city of Jerusalem, is the most suitable place for both.

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Come un respiro

Posted on Jun 28, 2019

Christian Media CenterThe book “Like a Breath”, which describes the spiritual journey of Luisa Jaques, known as Sister Mary of the Trinity, Poor Clare of Jerusalem, was presented at the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Jerusalem. A biography, but also a meditation arranged according to themes of the vast patrimony of faith and spirituality that Sister Mary of the Trinity left behind, above all through the “Inner Colloquium”: that is, the transcription, already published in the middle of the last century and translated into 10 languages, of the words that Sister Mary of the Trinity heard during the years spent in Jerusalem spoken directly by Jesus, particularly after having received communion. Selim Sayegh, Patriarchal Vicar Emeritus for Jordan, is the author of “Come un respiro”, and Father Pier Giorgio Gianazza translated the book, published by Edizioni Terra Santa, into Italian.

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Can Zionism Be Redeemed?

Posted on Jun 28, 2019

As an interfaith educator and activist involved in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking for close to 40 years, I remain pessimistic for the short term; but I remain hopeful for the longer term, as I continue my work with allies of different faiths for a healing of the holy land.

by Yekhezkel Landau*

I am a dual Israeli-American citizen who is anguished and alarmed over the odious political situation in both of my beloved countries. Chauvinist and racist governments led by corrupt, authoritarian, self-serving leaders have assumed power in both Israel and the United States by exacerbating fear, resentment, and hatred against demonized Others.

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Iraqi Christians face uncertain future, U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom says

Posted on Jun 28, 2019

By Matt Hadro

Washington D.C., Jun 27, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA) – The security of Christians in Northern Iraq remains “tenuous” and will require close attention in the future, the State Department’s religious freedom ambassador told members of Congress on Thursday.

While the situation is “far better in Northern Iraq right now” for Yazidis and Christians, who in 2016 were recognized by the State Department as genocide victims of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, there is still a lack of “true security in the area,” Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said.

Ambassador Brownback testified on June 27 at the hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), on “Violations of the International Right to Freedom of Religion” of Christians.

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WCC, IJCIC agree to restore formal relations, strengthen communication

Posted on Jun 28, 2019

“Among the issues that informed this gathering were: the rise of xenophobic nationalist movements in much of the world; suspicion of the agendas of religious communities and institutions, especially in Europe; the resurgence of overt antisemitism; the prevalence of Islamophobia; newly emerging anti-Christian attitudes; the continuing non-resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; worldwide hostility to vulnerable minorities; and the shocking erosion of civil society in many places and ways.”

28 June 2019
The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC ) have met formally on 25-27 June in Paris.

This meeting, under the theme “The normalization of hatred: challenges for Jews and Christians today,” took place at a time of challenges both to religious life in general and to each of our communities in their various contexts,” reads a communique released by the two groups.

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Catholic leaders caution against war with Iran as tensions escalate

Posted on Jun 25, 2019

by Kevin Clarke, America’s chief correspondent and the author of Oscar Romero: Love Must Win Out (Liturgical Press).

May 20, 2019This report was significantly updated on June 20 with new content from Catholic News Service.

As tensions rose further in the Gulf of Oman after U.S. officials accused Iran of playing a role in two more attacks on merchant shipping transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for International Justice and Peace urged dialogue and restraint. In a letter to the Trump administration released to the public on June 19, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services called on the Trump administration to avoid a military confrontation and to seek “sustained dialogue…to de-escalate the current situation that is a danger to both the region and the world.”

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