All about the situation in Nazareth
November 3, 1999

<< Please explain to me  this problem in Nazareth.  Am I correct in stating
 that the Christians (of Nazareth) wish a church to be built; the Muslims
 wish that it should house a mosque (?)  Why this debate after all this
 time ?
 N. Eaisha Pressimone

Dear Friends,

Let me explain again the situation:

I have created a webpage that could walk you through the problems in Nazareth.

Please visit:

I have written a lot of things concerning this issue:

1) Nazareth have been a capital of coexistence and an example for the
cooperation between Arab Muslims and Christians. It is the administrative
center of Galilee

2) Nazareth is a very important HOLY PLACE in the Holy Land: Christians have
the Basilica of the Annunciation built over the remains of house of Mary
mother of Jesus (Issa) from the First century.

3) For centuries Nazareth was a Christian town.

4) Today the population of Nazareth is mixed between Christians who became a
minority, Muslims and Jews.

5) The Israeli government using the religious nerve have nourished divisions
between Muslims and Christians.(please read details on the above mentioned
URL, where I put some documents, you can also listen on Real Audio of
Al-Bushra the Midnight Christmas 1998 Homily of Patriarch Sabbah, as well the
Easter message, the homily of the Greek Catholic Bishop of Galilee all
speaking about Nazareth)

6) Christians have been assaulted by Muslims in Easter, many shops, cars were
burned, many Christian people were sent to hospitals. Christians have closed
the Churches for two days as a sign of protest.

7) Some Muslims (not all) want to build a mosque some meters from the
Basilica over the tomb of Shahab Eddine, cousin of Salah Eddine who have been
buried in Nazareth, when Nazareth were in majority a Christian Town at that
time, and claim that Shehab Eddine belong only to the Muslim community when
Shehab Eddine belongs as a hero to the whole Arab Community (Muslims and

8) The Israeli authorities, despite the Courts decisions, want to give the
Islamists a large piece of land and when preventing the Moslems from
liberating their Waqf properties all over Israel, in Nazareth the Israelis
became very "generous"?

9) The Christian Community have asked from the Islamists to respect their
holy place and build the Mosque elsewhere as their is no need for mosque, as
mosques should be need for people to pray in and not for any other reason,
and there are enough mosques in Nazareth.

10) The Christians have warned their bloodbrothers the Muslims that Israel
wanted only to create divisions and it could be a precedent to ask for a
space for the Jews in Masjed Al Asksa.

11) Because of the sensivity of the situation and some calls for bloodshed
and hate. Some Arab Christian and Muslims bloodbrothers and sisters found
that the best way is to bring harmony to Nazareth and rebuild trust between
the same Arab family and stop the Israeli instigation to fuel divisions (In
the past they came to say to the world that Israel is a necessity in the
Middle East  it is there to protect Christians or Muslims and put peace
between them... you know all about these propagandas, now as a cold war
against our brothers the Muslims have been created out of nothing after the
end of the cold war with Russia). So because of the sensitivity of the
situation, the Latin Patriarchate came with an idea so as to build an
interfaith center.

- The interfaith center will not bring down our bloodbrothers the Muslims
- It will not bring down the Christians of Nazareth
- It will stop the dirty game to divide the Arab Palestinians (Christians and
- it will honor Shehab Eddine who belongs to the whole Holy Land and not
exclusively to the Muslims
- It may bring soem Jews who are not Zionists to dialogue for the best of
harmony between the five components of the Holy Land society: Religions:
Jews, Christians and Muslims, and nationalities: Palestinians and Israelis.

We hope that our bloodbrothers the Muslims understand that the Arab
Christians are their partners, are their brothers and sisters that respect
them and love them, with whom they have a long history, culture, heritage and
life. our future together is wanted by Allah-God to be a bridge of
cooperation, love, cooperation and sharing, an example for others all over
the world and specially in the Middle East.

Together we can defeat the expansion philosophy of the Zionists and their
supporters and only together we can build a best future of harmony, justice
and peace for our children.

Again we call you to support the INTERFAITH CENTER IN NAZARETH.

With love and respect,

Fr. Labib Kobti