Islamic-Christian Fraternity Conference
(Dp-news – Sana)
DAMASCUS- The Islamic-Christian Fraternity Conference, held by the Ministry of Endowments and the Syrian Churches, started its activities on Wednesday.
Delegations from over thirty countries participate in the conference, organized at Damascus-based Umayyad Palace.
Minister of Islamic Endowments (Awkaf) Abdel Sattar al-Sayyed said the Islamic-Christian fraternity in Syria is a historical fact and social need that the citizens have lived throughout history.
He added that the Islamic and Christian messages laid the bases for justice and prohibited all forms of injustice, adding that Islam and Christianity agree on a core definition of justice and rights in all social, political and economic fields; which states that justice consists in rendering to every human his due if he is entitled to it.
Minister al-Sayyed said the Arab civilization, built by the Muslims and Christians, is a pioneering cultural experience in tolerance, which qualified it to play its role as a unique example of cultural dialogue.
He called upon the Muslims and Christians to close the ranks against world terrorism, especially the organized state terrorism of Israel, intellectual terrorism and individual terrorism, according to an objective scientific definition of terrorism.
Minister Al-Sayyed said the Israeli practices are the gravest of our time as they violate human rights and values of justice and human dignity, describing them as a flagrant example of organized terrorism.
He also urged for more Islamic-Christian cooperation which is the inevitable logic to encounter the Israeli heinous crimes.
In turn, His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, said that holding a conference of this national, religious, social, Arab and global scale in Damascus proves its spiritual values and the respect that all its citizens enjoy.
He stressed the importance of uniting efforts and building a true human culture based on amity and respect among Christians and Muslims and accepting others in order to protect the Arab world.
For his part, Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun said that the conference aims at clarifying the true image of Islam and its noble meanings through Islamic-Christian fraternity.
Hassoun called on Muslim and Christian scholars to unite efforts to raise awareness regarding the conspiracies being plotted against the region and to spread the culture of amity, peace and tolerance rather than religious extremism.
In turn, His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim of Antioch and All East for the Greek Orthodox said that this conference is an important event that embodies the way in life in Syria across history.
He added that there are those who commit crimes in the name of religion, and that religions are exempt from those who do as since all religions call for amity, peace and respecting humanity.
For his part, His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of Antioch and All the East for the Syriac Orthodox and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church said that this conference is another opportunity for gathering and bolstering national unity, further fortifying the wall protecting Syria and all its children of various faiths, creeds and cultures.
Participants in the conference pointed out to the importance of national and Arab unity to face the challenges and Zionist schemes in the region, stressing the necessity of falling back on the common denominators between Islam and Christianity.
They noted that Palestine is not just an issue for Palestinians, but is also the central issue of the nation, adding that the Arab people must preserve their independence and protect their national choices.
The participants said that the conference is considered to be a positive step towards consolidating the culture of co-existence between Muslims and Christians, thus leading to the creation of a world where values of justice, cooperation, respect and right are dominant.
They stressed that Syria enjoys national, religious and human awareness which makes it immune to risks and fears.
They pointed out that the call for holding this conference comes in harmony with the clear vision and witty methodology adopted by President Bashar al-Assad, who calls for solidarity through openness and mutual respect of humanity.
Participants indicated to the necessity of working to save the world from wars which brought indescribable sorrows to humanity and achieve international peace and security.
They said that the East is the source of civilizations and the cradle of monotheist religions, and that Syria has a distinguished place in the hearts of Christians and Muslims, noting that many popes and saints came from Syria, such as St. Maroun the founder of the Maronite church.
The participants affirmed that humanity needs unity in this age more than ever, and that the current reality requires all borthers in humanity – particularly Muslims and Christians – to communicate and coexist, stressing that religious tolerance is an inalienable issue.
At the conclusion of the Conference, the participants voiced their strong rejection of all the pretenses used by the Israeli Knesset to Judaize the occupied Syrian Golan, affirming that all the Israeli resolutions including the recent referendum are null and void according to international law and international legitimacy.
The participants rejected the Israeli policy of terrorizing and taking revenge on the Palestinian citizens, stressing the need to draw the international community’s attention to the danger of Israeli settlement activities, Judaization of the occupied Arab lands, and falsification of Christian and Islamic landmarks in Jerusalem.
They voiced their support of the Palestinian right to return, calling on national agencies to assist the Palestinians to restore their usurped lands and demanding that the international order distinguish between terrorism and just resistance, affirming that the Arab-Israeli conflict isn’t a conflict between religion, and that the Israeli terrorist that uses the cover of Jewish religion is the only source of organized violence against Christianity and Islam.
The participants welcomed in their recommendations the call made by the Synod for the Middle East for Islamic-Christian fraternity and coexistence and abandoning extremism, violence, terrorism persecution and exploitation.
They also lauded the Synod’s calls for establishing just peace in the region, applying the UN Security Council resolutions, and taking steps to end the occupation of Arab lands.
The recommendations added that the Synod’s affirmation of the importance of the Arabic language as an official language at the Synod and its recommendation for using it in the Vatican is an important step towards cooperation between Arab and Western Christianity.
The participants affirmed that the idea of contradiction between Islam and Christianity is a deceptive political thought sown to justify aggressions against the East, calling for confronting this misguiding thought and its negative repercussions.
They said that Christianity and Islam have a vital cultural space in Arabism and identity, calling for correcting the concepts of Orientalism and Occidentalism and ending prejudice against Arabs and Islam.
The recommendations forbade conflict and the use of all kinds of violence, stressing that religions tolerance is a higher Islamic and Christian virtue, noting that the term “religious minority” is a foreign term and expresses nothing in Arab reality, as Arab societies have an ingrained national identity.
They concluded by stressing in their recommendations the need to make the values of Islam and Christianity the subject of joint Christian-Islamic studies, conferences, forums and meetings.
The event discussed the importance of fraternity and unity between Muslims and Christians for encountering the challenges and dangers threatening the values and principles of the holy religions.