We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine. The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date the information was released by the source.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Conference on Mideast Christians: "Protecting Mideast Christians [is a] human responsibility"

By Rula Samain/ The Jordan Times

Arab governments and societies with their different components have the responsibility to end forced Christian immigration and work to bring the displaced back to their countries, panellists have said.

At a conference on the impact of the Arab Spring on the Christian population in the region, organised by Al Quds Centre for Political Studies (QCPS), participants urged Christians to remain in their homelands and not allow any party to terrorise them.

Oraib Rantawi, QCPS director, told The Jordan Times Saturday on the sidelines of the two-day event that Arab Christians are encountering unprecedented dangers that have forced them to migrate. These include mass killings and forceful displacement, adding that such crimes constitute blatant violations to all basic human rights.

The conference, held in cooperation with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), attracted the participation of religious leaders, politicians, MPs and human right activists from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Archbishop Youssef Tuma, head of the Chaldean Archbishopic of Kirkuk told the audience that Arab Christians should not listen to the voices of fear, adding that such a phenomenon is not new since other nations in different times have passed through similar difficulties.

He added that otherwise, extremists will dominate and create ghettos for Christians in certain cities or areas, among other consequences of such domination.

“Christians are the salt of earth and thus we should be everywhere to enrich the culture we live in,” he said.

Archbishop Tuma emphasised that the different denominations of Christianity are united, adding that the Church believes in cultural diversity and that God is one for all, Muslims and Christians, who should join ranks to fight back against radicalism.

Father Rifat Bader, director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media, presented a paper on the challenges and problems facing Christians in Jordan.

He noted that although Jordan is the only safe and stable country in the Middle East, religious extremism has been on the rise. He said extremists target not only Christians, but humanity in general.

Father Bader called for urgent changes in the school curricula, citing “historical shortcomings”.
“Christians’ history as key contributors to region’s civilisations, culture, economy and intellectual achievements is not mentioned at all in school syllabi, a matter which alienates Arab Christians from their history and land,” Father Bader said, urging the Ministry of Education to implement a decision in 1997 to teach about Christian religion in public schools.

Rantawi said that after analysing the challenges facing Arab Christians, participants agreed on the Amman Declaration, which he defined as a road map for a better future for Christians in the Arab countries.

He also added that participants expressed their condemnation of a trend to treat Arab Christians as an extension of Western culture or as minorities.

George Ishaq, a politician and activist from Egypt, said that he is optimistic about Egypt’s future and stressed the importance of protecting religious freedom through legislation.

Sameh Ebeid, former member of the Egyptian parliament, told The Jordan Times that the word “minority” or similar is irrelevant if the talk is about a truly civil society not based on religious or ethnic classifications.

Presenting the European point of view, Niels Vinding, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, presented a paper on Europe’s responsibility in strengthening and maintaining the presence of Christians in the Middle East.

He said that the West is partly blamed for Middle East violence, especially in Iraq and Syria, due to centuries-old Western polices related to the region, let alone that the West has become an exporter of European Muslim youths who join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

He added that human society in general shares a responsibility of supporting those in need in the Middle East, including Christians.

Source: http://en.abouna.org/en/holylands/conference-mideast-christians-protecting-mideast-christians-human-responsibility

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