The Statement of Patriarch Michel Sabbah

Dear Friends:

Some people have criticized as the statment sent by CWN as "Labib, this really sounds like a justification of the attacks against he United States. Does America deserve what she got on September 11 because of continued unrest in the Middle East?"

Please find
1) The news from CWN
2) The Answer that I gave
3) The Answer from Jerusalem, I asked them to clearify what the Patriarch has said.


VATICAN, Oct 15, 01 ( - Latin-rite Patriarch
Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem has said that a solution to the
conflict between Israel and Palestine could eliminate 90
percent of the terrorism in the world.

Speaking with the Italian daily Avvenire, Patriarch
Sabbah-- who is in Rome to participate in the Synod of
Bishops-- said that American efforts to stamp out terrorism
could not succeed as long as the Palestinian people are
subject to occupation and oppression. "If the injustice
continues," he said, "despite all the attacks against
terrorists, there will always be anti-Western sentiments."
Those sentiments, he continued, "are the seed of terror and
death, so that terrorism "will always find fertile soil"
until there is a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
2) My answer

 Very Dear Friend:

I can understand you disapointment. I feel sometimes the same.
But we need to see it on the mind of the Patriarch and try to ask him questions.
Perhaps we need to write to him and find out what he means.
If I forward Patriarchs or comments or others, this does not mean that always  I support all what people that I forward their messages. I, just as a journalist, you are a journalist, forward and say what people have said.

As for the Patriarch again, you know that journaists can take what they want and put it in a frame and say it out of the contest. I am sure that the Patriarch have said that what happened in our country, the USA was a horrible thing and he had condemned it, I know that for a fact. In fact, Fr. Raed Abu Sahlia on his Emails to us Olive Branch tells us that Patriarch Sabbah had a special mass for the victims of NewYork and Washington with people of different faith in Jerusalem and called on all the priests and parishes and communities to say masses for that. Did the Media report any of that. Of course not.

As for the second part of people dancing. I can refer you to the talk of Brother Vincent, president of Bethlehem UNIVERSITY who came and talk to us in Sacramento at the conference of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher on September 30th. You can find all the talk at:

Please read about the footage of 1991. In fact the dancing was taken about the war in Iraq in the year 1991 and a lot of people had this video and wrote to the CNN about it.
He said:
4.4.  "The media is not on our side and does not present all the facts.  The
celebrations of 20 people or so overshadow all the good will efforts that
thousands engaged in to show our true feelings as a nation." (Ex: use of
footage from 1991; no coverage of many prayer vigils, letters of condolence;
manifestations of sympathy, from Christians and Muslims).
4.5.  "Christians are caught in the middle and need support.   Christian
emigration continues and is a cause of great concern."  Request of Patriarch to
University to study: "In what way can Christian Palestinians make the greatest
contribution to the building of a new Palestinian society?" "In what fields
should we encourage young people to specialize in order to maximize impact of
their service to Palestinian society?"  Cardinal Law of Boston: "We cannot tire
of reminding our own Catholic community and the wider world that the Christian
presence is vital to the Holy Land, not as an historic remnant, but as a living
community of faith."   "There is great need to support a people
—especially the small minority Christian community-- who have so little to hope
for at the present time."

I wish you have sent somebody to talk to our Arab-American Catholic people and to see that we are very much Americans and we suffered for our American people more than anybody. I can assure you, with great honesty, that I have never wept in my life like that week of the terrorist horrible attack in Newyork and Washington, and always at my masses I mention our beloved innocent people of New York and Washington.

The fact is that some time people are labeled because they are this or that color, this or that faith, this or that origin.

We are all American, we are proud to be Americans, we will never but support our American country and our children the Arab-Americans even do not speak but English, but at the same time we need to say all the truth about the suffering of other countries including the Palestinians under occupation.

You know that I love you and support the work that you do, I hope that you may give me time on the newspaper or send some people to give chance to the Arab-American Catholics to speak out their feelings and love to America.

We feel very hurt by some people that forget our love to America and label us because we are Arabs and see on us people who are different. Our people do not deserve that, we are not but a LOVING PEOPLE after all.

I will have a teach-in conference on Friday 19th at St. John of God about Islam and Arabs at 7:00 PM

With love and respect,

Abouna Labib Kobti

I started to work this but it is not finished yet. I send it to you just as a reference;

Who are the Arab-Americans?
By Fr. Labib Kobti

We Arab-American are the people who worked with all and different immigrants - we are all immigrants in the USA in a way or another -  for this our wonderful USA to make from it the democratic country of freedom where all should feel a proud one family, one village united with in one heart: America
We, the Arab-Americans so as to mention some of them - on the Political field - we are US Majority Leader George Mitchell, Philip Habib, Donna Shalala, Ralf Nader, Nick Joe Rahhal II, James Abourezk, Mary Rose Oakar, George Kasem, Pat Danner, John Baldacci, Ray LaHoud, Spencer Abraham, James Addnor, Abraham Kazen Jr., Chris John, Victor Atiyeh, Helen Thomas and many many others

We, the Arab-Americans on  Films, TVs and Radios are Moustapha Akkad, Vic Tayback, Lucie Salhany, John Sununu, Emilio Estephan, Casey Kasem, Lucie Salhany, Malik Ali

We are the actors Salma Hayek, Omar El-Shariff, Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas, Kathy Najimy, Michael Nouri, Tony Shalhoub, Callie Khoury, Emile Kuri,  Shannon Elisabeth,
In Sport we are Doug Flutie, Prince Naseem, Rony Seikaly, Rich Kotie, Jim Harrick, George Maloof, Sr. Zuhair Mansour, Fred Saigh, Petey Sarron, Yassir Seirawan, Bobby Rahal,
We wrote in English for America and the world Khalil Joubran,  Fred Saidy,Edward Said, Michael Debakey, Ray Irani, Elias Cory, Farouk El-Baz, Jack Shaheen, Nido Qubein
We sang and and brought America to the world Fashion with Paola Abdul, Paul Anka, Danny Thomas, Joseph Abboud, J. M. Hajjar.

I can go on with my list. You see why I am proud to be Arab-American in America because I worked hard for America and died for America with Col. James Jabra, Lt. Alfred Naif, Gen. George Joulwan,  Maj. Gen. Fred Safay, Brig. Gen. Elias Stevens and many many others who today offer their lives at the service of the America of the Future.

Some years ago the Italians were accused because of one man Il Capone and some others in Chicago or here and there, and Italians proved that they were a wonderful people who worked hard for the best. The same can be said about English who during the civil war were considered the ennemis of our future USA. The same could be said about the Japanese during the second Worl War or about the Germans during the first and second world war. As it is the same about the Cubans, the African Americans and all the different ethinic who suffered here and there in different States or places because of their language, culture, or tradtions.

We Arab-American, we are not different of anybody: A people who suffer now because of some prejudices that some Media, films or situation created around us like all the above mentioned. But all Americans from different orignins know deep inside that we are good people and this time of labelling us will pass sooner or later.

3) The Answer from Jerusalem

Subj:     Re: Urgent about the Statements of the Patriarch 
Date:     10/17/2001 2:15:16 AM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: (Nonviolence Homepage)
Dear Fr. Labib,
Thank you for sharing all these things with me..
We are acustomed to such criticism.. but there is a misunderstanding.. these people understoud only  what the Patriarch didn't at all say..this is only their personal interpretation of what is read in this short piece of information, they have to read all the statments of the Patriarch.
I send you hereby three documents: You have to tell these people that the Patriarch was the first one to send letters of condoleces to the American President, Governemnt and Churches. Exactly two hours after th4e attacks and we have recieved letters of appreciation from all these people for his prompt reaction and condamnation. (Find the text of the letter of the Patriarch in the First document).
Then as you mentioned we celebrated a mass inour ConCatherdral the next Sunday after the attacks presided by the Patriarch, the Papal Nuncio and in the presense of all the foreign Council Generals. (find the Text of the Homily in the second document).
Concening the latest statements of the Patriarch in Rome and Assise: He condamend also the attacks at the beginning, but this was not reported in this short news, then he spoke about how we can combat terrorism and said what he said that the seeds of terrorism are here in the Middle East because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is right.. I think that these people should thank the Patriarch instead of cristicizing him because he is telling them how to react in the right way.(find the text of the speech of the Patriarch in Assise, it is in French)
Any way, we cannot convince everybody of these ideas because maybe they still are under shock and we understand their fears, but they have to know that this is the truth and maybe the only truth. They have to hear the prophetic voice of the Patriarch.
The Documents:
 Docuemnt No. 1
  Message of solidarity and condolences
A message of solidarity and condolences from His Beatitude Patriarch Sabbah to the American People and the church of America for the terrorist attack against the innocent people, which took place yesterday in New York and Washington.

Jerusalem, September 11th  2001
Your Eminencies, Excellencies and dear Brothers,
I would like to express to your Eminence and to the Church of America and the entire American people our solidarity and condolence for the terrible events which took place today in the USA.
We are with you in prayer and feelings. The Church of the Holy Land prays with you and asks God to give you all His divine comfort and hope in these difficult moments.
The Christian Communities in Jerusalem and the whole Palestinian people stand with you in these moments and share with you the sadness for the loss of innocent brothers and sisters in humanity and faith.
We condemn these horrifying crimes and we are shocked and deeply saddened when we watched the extent of the catastrophe inflected upon the innocent people, which was caused by horrible acts of terrorism. It is unimaginable to see how catastrophic the extent of terrorism could reach.
Let us work together for a better world as we begin the 3rd millennium after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace.
Please extend our deep and heartfelt solidarity with all the families and relatives of all the victims of these events. May the Lord give them strength and patience.
With our sincere and fraternal prayers and feelings.
                                                                                                                        + Michel Sabbah
                                                                                                                        Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Document No. 2

Homily of the Mass for Peace

And remembrance of the victims in the USA

Brothers and sisters

We are gathered this morning to pray, to come into the presence of God almighty and merciful, to pray for our brothers and sisters who died in the tragic events of this week, in the USA. We are here with our own pains, with the pains of the American people and American Churches, with whom we are in a constant and fraternal relation in our quest of justice and peace in this land. To all of you, Americans here sharing in this prayer, we present our sincere condolences. With you, and with the people and the Church of America, we mourn the departed, we entrust them to the mercy of God. In the same time, we pray for the survivors, for the relatives and friends, and for the leaders of America, may God give them faith, hope and strength to go on building their land, with their faith in God and love for their brothers and sisters in America and in the world.
In the first reading of today, from the book of Exodus, we read the following versus: ? I shall make a great nation out of you? (Ex 32:10). For that, Moses had prayed and asked the intercession of the Fathers: ?Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?. The greatness of the nation, for the Jewish people as for all peoples of the earth, will depend from the presence of those forefathers and their followers, the prophets and the saints, who had listened to the word of God, who had made it known to the people, and who, through the spirit of God Almighty and merciful, had prepared the peoples of the earth to become great nations. This is to say that the greatness of every nation will always rely upon the word of God, and from the capacity of the nation, leaders and people, to listen to it and to be faithful to it. The nearer to God, to his greatness, the nearer to the true greatness in this world. Jesus had also said: ?Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect?. All progress and all greatness in this world can only be a sharing in the greatness and the perfection of God.
The question comes naturally to the mind: There are so many interpreters of the Word of God and they are often contradictory. Some find in the Word of God love and mercy, and some  find death and hatred. Jesus had said: ?Be perfect as Your Father in heaven is perfect?. So our guide is God himself. Those interpreters who are conform in their interpretation with the love and mercy of God, those we can trust and follow. Those who affirm attributes contrary to the very essence of God, as hatred and death and exclusion of other brothers and sisters, cannot be from God; they cannot work neither for God nor for the children of God; they cannot build the kingdom of God neither in this world nor in the world to come. Those who love, those for whom God is the source of their own love for others, these are the interpreters of the word of God.
This brings back the role of religion in our present world. It happened in history that religion has served to be a cause of wars. Today too, religion is manipulated and God is prayed to overcome the enemy. In our country here, religion on both sides is having a big role in the conflict and in the cycle of violence. Religion cannot be a cause of wars. God is not the God of hatred and death. God is the God of all his children, whatever be their faith or nationality, and it is the role of all leaders to come out of their conformism to the political system of which they are a part, even to overcome a dominating vision in the crowds, to become the prophets for the building of the future. It is a common responsibility of all religious leaders to free themselves, not to remain obedient parts of the political system, in order to be the voice of God, not of men, the God of mercy, righteousness and love for all.
World leaders, on their side, should make God more present in their own life and plans. They should know that progress of humankind cannot be done without God, without an education which allows the new generations to know God, as God of mercy, of righteousness and love. The religious vacuum in the present society should be filled with a true religious education, starting from the leaders to all the strata of the people in order to know God, and to know that he is the father of all. God cannot be a source of discrimination among his children. The present developed society should not leave God out of its plans: seeing God the human progress will follow more appropriate better ways, and God will not remain a weapon in the hands of the poor to take revenge of the strong.
There will be always and everywhere oppositions and differences among religions, and religious views or positions. The same among peoples and nations and persons. But no one, should remain enemy: neither seeing himself as enemy, nor seeing the other as enemy, to kill and to hate. Religion should educate all to see in the other a brother and sister to build together this world of God, as true children of God.
For that we pray, this morning, brothers and sisters, may God help us to find in our tragedies seeds of a new life, as was the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Cross led to the Resurrection because Jesus gave his life out of love for all, and because he forgave to those who were the cause of his death. Therefore, through love and forgiveness, death became the seeds of a new life. Amen.
+ Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Jerusalem  16 September 2001
Document No. 3
Peut-on cr? un monde meilleur?
Discours du Patriarche ?ssise pour la Marche de La Paix
I. Dans la ville d?Assise, Saint Fran?s, le pauvre de cette ville s??it pose la m? question en son temps, il y a sept si?es. Pour lui, cr? un monde meilleur est possible et c'est un travail de conversion int?eure quotidienne et d?attention charg?d'amour envers toutes les cr?ures de Dieu. Il commen?par cette conversion en lui-m?, puis des milliers d'hommes le suivirent et le suivent aujourd?hui encore, D?ailleurs c'est son esprit et son message de paix et d'amour qui nous r?issent aujourd?hui, dans sa ville, ?a recherche d'un monde meilleur. Et, venant de J?salem, je poserai la question savante aussi: Un monde meilleur peut-il ?e construit ?erusalem?
2. Aujourd'hui, le monde en d?rroi par suite des attentats du 11 septembre, et les grandes puissances de ce monde, elles-m?s, soumises ?a peur d'un ennemi invisible, le terrorisme, se demandant comment prot?r les valeurs de 1'humanite et permettre aux peuples de la terre de vivre en paix et en s?rit?/SPAN>
2.1 Cet attentat a produit une secousse dans 1'humanit?car il a mis ?u la fragilit?es puissances de cette terre. Cette secousse a invite tons les peuples de la terre ?'unir dans une lutte commune. Mais elle invite aussi bien les responsables de ce monde, dans leur lutte contre le terrorisme, ?voir le courage de regarder dans les profondeurs de leur conscience, comme dans tes structures de notre civilisation, bas? souvent sur les int?ts des peuples forts aux d?ns des plus faibles. En effet, au nom des int?ts, des injustices sont commises ou permises: La limitation des richesses du monde entre les mains de 20% de l?humanit?faire des pays du tiers-monde le marche des armements produits par le premier monde, injustices impos? aux peuples faibles, et je mentionne parmi ceux-l?e peuple palestinien qui r?ame toujours sa libert?et le peuple iraqien soumis ?n embargo qui, depuis une dizaine d?ann?, continue a faire des milliers de victimes innocentes, quels que soient les raisonnements politiques qui voudraient justifier cela. Tout cela nourrit un ressentiment dans 1?? des pauvres.
Pour se lib?r du terrorisme, la civilisation contemporaine, ou 1'ordre mondial contemporain, doit pouvoir faire son examen de conscience et avoir le courage de voir les sources du ma) en lui, et de les d?ciner, afin de permettre ?n monde de mourir, et  ?n autre de na?e, nouveau, bas?ur la justice et l?amour.
2.2 Un autre moyen de lutte contre le terrorisme: rendre Dieu plus pr?nt dans la soci? et la conscience des personnes, favoriser une meilleure  ?cation  religieuse  dans  les  soci?s  s?laris?  ou croyantes, afin de couper le chemin face ?eux qui transforment la religion en fanatisme et extr?sme.
Le dialogue des religions et des cultures est aujourd'hui plus n?ssaire que jamais. Ce dialogue entre les religions doit d?sser tout ce qui s'est fait jusqu??r?nt:  congres,  c?monies  et   publicit?Dans ce dialogue entre les religions, il faut plut???lopper un programme universel d'?cation, qui est une ?cation de tous les croyants ?a paix et au respect de la religion de l?autre. Il ne s'agit pas d'une ?cation au syncr?sme. Chacun doit rester fid? ?a propre religion, mais en m? temps ouvert e l?estime et au respect de l'autre religion. Il faut aussi que tombent tous les pr?g?que chaque religion, chaque croyant, peut avoir vis-?is des autres.
2.3 Toutefois, si un effort vers phis de respect mutuel est n?ssaire de la part des institutions religieuses, un m? effort de la part des institutions  civiles  et  politiques  la?es  est  lui  aussi  tout  aussi indispensable. La civilisation occidentale doit effecteur un retour vers les valeurs religieuses. II ne peut pas oublier que ce monde est compose de gens qui croient et que les religions sont une donn?essentielle de  l?humanit?C'est pourquoi l'Occident s?laris?oit revenir sur ses
positions la?es et cr? les conditions d'un dialogue entre la la?t?t les religions. Les pouvoirs la? doivent prendre garde au fait que si leur logique est une chose, celle des religions en est une autre. Ils doivent prendre garde aussi ?e pas utiliser les religions dans leurs calculs de domination, car le d?urnement de la religion peut leur ?apper, soit en se dirigeant vers l?extr?sme et le fanatisme donnant lieu au terrorisme, soit vers une exploitation de la d?cratique qui permettrait ?SPAN>
l?extr?sme  religieux  d?acc?r  au  pouvoir  par  les  moyens d?cratiques et de le transformer ensuite en dictature.
2.4 Les effets du terrorisme peuvent se manifester au loin, mais les racines sont en nous. II est inutile de frapper au loin, si or n'a pas le courage de d?ciner les causes qui sont dans nos consciences ou dans nos structures sociales. Le terrorisme frapp?i loin ne fera  que rena?e, si les causes qui le produisent, et qui sont en nous, restent inchang?.
Nous sommes confiants que les ?ntants de ces jours, au lieu de lancer l?humanit?ans des guerres aux effets impr?sibles, puissent plut??a faire passer d'une ? des int?ts et des injustices en faveur des grandes puissances, ?ne nouvelle ? de collaboration entre les peuples, bas? non plus sur les int?t des plus forts, mais sur  la dignit?e toute personne humaine et de tout peuple.
3.  Et, venant de Jerusalem, je pose la question: Un monde meilleur peut-il ?e construit ??salem
Entre Assise et Jerusalem, il  y a un lien humain et  spirituel fondamental. C'est pour le Christ n? Bethl?, mort et ressuscit?  J?salem, que Fran?s d'Assise d?da de se convertir et de s'atteler ?a t?e ardue de collaborer ?a construction d'un monde meilleur.
3.1  A Jerusalem ainsi, le justice et la paix, et donc un monde meilleur doivent Sure possibles. A Jerusalem, et dans la Terre Sainte, Palestine et Isra? il y a un conflit qui dune depuis plus d'un si?e. Mais c'est en 1948 qu?Isra?cr?son Etat sur les 78% de la Palestine historique. En1967 il occupe le reste de la Palestine, i.e. les 22% qui restaient, et cette partie reste jusqu'aujourd'hui avec le statut de territoires occup? Les Palestiniens, au d?t, expropri? majoritaires, refus?nt de reconna?e le nouvel Etat cr?en 1948. Depuis 1988 et avec le processus de paix. Ils ont reconnu et ont fait leur concession.  Aujourd?hui, ils ne demandent que les 22% de la Palestine historique, occup?en 1967. En r?m?le conflit aujourd'hui consiste donc en ce qui suit: les Palestiniens r?ament leur libert?t la fin de l'occupation militaire  isra?enne.  Les  Isra?ens  de  leur  c6te  demandent  leur s?rit?Cette double demande, la libert?our les Palestiniens et s?rit?our les Isra?ens, n'est pas contradictoire. Au contraire, l'une est conditionn?par l'autre. La s?rit? pour Isra?est tout simplement le r?ltat de la libert?edonn?aux Palestiniens et la fin de l'occupation militaire. Les c?urs amis sont la meilleure s?rit?t les meilleures fronti?s.  Ils  sont beaucoup plus  efficaces que  les  arm? et  les repr?illes. Et les Palestiniens peuvent devenir les c?urs  amis et les voisins pacifiques, une fois que leurs territoires et leur libert?eur sont redonn?
3.2  La phase du conflit que nous sommes en train de vivre aujourd?hui est l'une des plus violentes que nous ayons v?e. J?esp? que ce soit la derni?. Apr?elle, une nouvelle g?ration de leaders doit se manifester, avec une nouvelle vision, celle du respect mutuel, et vision de l'antre qui n'est pas l'ennemi ?a?et tuer, mais le fr? avec lequel il  faut  construire  la nouvelle  soci? palestinienne et  isra?enne. Une nouvelle vision, et un nouveau courage pr???iser la paix Juste et d?nitive, un nouveau courage du chef pr? non plus a sacrifier le peuple, mais a se sacrifier lui-m?, si n?ssaire, pour la paix des g?rations ?enir.
3.3 J?salem est la ville sainte pour les trois religions monoth?tes, elle  est un patrimoine  de  l?humanit?SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">  Source  de R?mption pour l?humanit?sa situation de paix ou de guerre se r??it aussi sur la paix on la guerre dans le monde. C'est pourquoi, ce conflit m?te de nouveaux efforts de la part de la communaut?nternationale afin d'aider les deux peuples ?e r?ncilier sur les bases de la justice et de la dignit?gale de tons les peuples.
Un nouvel ordre mondial base sur la justice et la paix partira d'un monde meilleur base sur la justice et la paix a Jerusalem.
+Michel Sabbah
Patriarche Latin de Jerusalem
Assise, 13 octobre 2001