Sep 07,2016 -JORDAN TIMES – EDITORIAL
Heads of 22 regional churches met on the Dead Sea shores and agreed on the need for a unified ecclesiastical voice of Middle Eastern churches as an instrument for entrenching peace, tolerance and acceptance, greatly needed in the climate of death and atrocity much of the region is facing, most of it perpetrated by misguided religious zealots.
The clergy acknowledged the need to speak against the “forces of evil” and focus on “the alleviation of the human suffering”, and called on Christian Arabs to stay in their countries, to defy attempts at uprooting them from their ancestral lands.
The message comes at a more critical time than ever, when many Christian Arabs were forced to flee their homeland, in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the region, and seek safe haven elsewhere.
The plight of Christian Arabs, like that of their Muslim compatriots, is deplorable and a stain on humanity.
That in this day and age people should still be persecuted for their religious belief, enslaved or killed for it, goes against any claim at civilisation.
If anything, it is antithetical to it and to humaneness, the act of sick minds that have no values whatsoever, much less religious values, which they claim.
The loss of millions of Christian Arabs is a catastrophe for the Middle East and its future.
Christians have forever been part of the social fabric in this part of the world, the neighbours and friends who contributed in equal measure to the economy of their countries and in immense measure to the cultural and spiritual dimension of any given community.
For centuries, Muslims and Christians lived side by side in brotherly and cordial relations, fighting for common national or ideological causes.
Those who think they do not belong here are the ones who need to leave this area where all monotheistic religions were born and coexisted and where people of all faiths could always live in peace and harmony.
The emigration of Christian Arabs from Palestine, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world would mean a major setback for the development of the Arab world on all fronts.
As the spokesperson for the Jerusalem-based Orthodox Church said during the meeting, the exodus of Christian Arabs would mean the end of the Palestinian cause.
One can add that Christian Arabs play a critical role in the development and progress of the Arab nation, and all efforts must be made to encourage them to continue to play this special role despite the hardships they face.
The church praised Jordan’s role in promoting and protecting Christian-Muslim relations, setting a fine example of religious coexistence.
A Muslim-Christian dialogue needs to produce a tolerant discourse to mitigate religious tensions and bring about a culture of moderation, love, peace and full citizenship for all people residing in one country, regardless of their religious and political backgrounds.
That is the message of the heads of churches and its reasonableness should not be lost.
In the midst of the chaos engulfing the region, the only thing saving us is our humanity. And that means acceptance of the other.