Stop provocation between Jews, Christians and Muslims

By Fr. Labib Kobti

July 8th, 1997

The Arab-American Roman Catholic Community of California, which is located on the Internet at Website Al-Bushra at :

make the following statement in response to the recent events in our Home Countries:

(1) We as a community, deplore and condemn the provocative and flagrant insult against the Virgin Mary, the Prophet Mohammed and the Koran.

(2) We denounce, and condemn the grave insult against the deeply held religious convictions of our Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters all over the world, and especially those in the Palestinian community.

(3) The repeated attempts of SOME Jewish extremist elements, as well as illegal settlers on the Occup[ied Territories, whose intention it is to act as provocateurs against the religious sensibilities of a population in both the State of Israel and in the Occupied Territories can never serve the causes of peace, justice, truth or mutual trust.

(4) We contend that the religious nerve of our country is the most sensitive of all. The provocation of that nerve by the depiction of the founder of a religion as a farm animal is tantamount to a declaration of war on that religion, and is only meant to serve as a pretext to promulgate further violence and hatred, in order to deliberately destroy what little remains of the agonizing peace process.

(5) We further contend that the aforesaid could even be a tactical maneuver by certain elements within the Israeli Defense Force to act as a pretext to take back by force if necessary, territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority or to not cede further territories to the Palestinians in accord with the internationally signed Oslo accords.

(6) We recognize the fact that a just and democratic government does not tolerate this kind of disrespect towards any religious group among either her citizenry or those under her military control. We acknowledge that many members and leaders of the Israeli government were quick to condemn unequivocally the nefarious actions of a few misguided religious zealots. We note that the Prime Minister and the President of the State of Israel have already issued remarks to this effect. We also note that leading clergy and lay members of the Jewish community have also expressed their disgust at the above cited actions. But we ask further actions and stands.

(7) We refuse any kind of Extremism: Jewish, Christian or Muslim. The Five components in the Holy Land (Palestinains and Israelis, Jews, Christians and Muslims) should, all of them, feel themselves in the Holy Land equally home, sharing the same rights and duties. Exclusivist claims could only destroy the future of those five components and the one who remains outside will nourish in his soul and heart the desire to come back by any means. Stop then any kind of violence. Confiscating Arab Lands and building on them, confiscating the Palestinain IDs in Jerusalem and the closure of the Terrritories are acts of great violence that provoke hatred and war. Stop nourishing those feelings and especially the most sensitive of all the religious one.

(8) We are called to love each other. We should educate ourselves to love. From the Synagogues, the Temples, the Churches and the Mosques the same exhortation should be proclaimed: Jews, Christians and Moslims love each other. A fraternal world in the Holy Land where Jesus and Prophets called for peace, justice, love and should be build for the sake TRUTH and rightousness that the ONE God, Adonia, Allah called us to live on the same land of the three monothestic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

(9) Therefore, in view of this, we pray with all religious authorities, Jews, Muslims and Christians, all of whom are calling for love and non-violence in the troubled Holy Land.

May God by whatever name, Adonai, Allah, The Most Holy One, for all of us, fill our hearts and minds with love and strength to work assiduously together for Peace, Justice and Truth.

May God help all those in positions of authority to end the violence that has come to seem to be endemic to the Holy Land and work towards mutual trust among all of us.

Fr. Labib Kobti Al-Bushra,