Damascus, SANA – Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Gregorios III Laham called on Muslims and Christians in the Arab world to unify efforts in facing Takfiri thoughts stressing that the Zionist occupation is the source of problems where it destabilized the region and made the Arab Palestinian people homeless.
Patriarch Laham’s remarks came during a forum organized at Al-Assad Library on Saturday evening under the title “ A message from an Arab Christian Patriarch to his Muslim brothers all over the world” on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Declaration of the Second Vatican Council of 1965 entitled the Relation Of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate.
He said that what motivated him to forward his message to the Muslims, particularly in the Arab world, is the dangerous situation of the region where the Takfiri movements brought destruction to our homelands specially to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
Laham made it clear that co-existence is threatened by immigration caused by wars and crises basically resulted from the Arab Israeli struggle and its repercussions of extremism, fundamentalism, violence, terrorism and hostilities within societies.
Patriarch Laham affirmed that Antioch Church is an Arab one by its roots and nationality as it is the Church of Muslims and the appropriate atmosphere for pluralism, co-existence, peace in the region and comprehensive peace that guarantees ending the Arab-Israeli struggle.
He stressed that Eastern Arab Christians are in contact with the Christian world all over the world and worried about our Muslim brothers from the fundamentalist Takfiri movements which pose the biggest danger that faces Muslims and Christians in the Arab world and all over the world.
Patriarch Laham called upon Muslims and Christians of the Arab East to be in the same front facing the danger of the Takfiri terrorism, pointing out that the joint stance of Muslims and Christians towards Takfiri movements and the destructive theory of Huntington on The Clash of Civilizations will save the East and the West together from the consequences of these universal epidemiological dangers.
Minister of Religious Endowments Mohammad Abdul-Sattar Al-Sayed affirmed the necessity of differentiation when talking about Syria and other Arab and Islamic countries. Since Syria is the cradle of civilization, there are mosques next to churches and it represents the true Islam, the minister said,adding that we have to differentiate between true Islam and the extremist Wahabi Islam.
In turn, Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Bder-Eddin Hassoun called upon the westerners, who pretend to be protecting Christians, to tell what the population of Christians was in Bait Lahem in 1967 compared to population of today, affirming that it was about 62 thousands then while it is now only 7 thousands which means that “Europe had to work on returning Jerusalem to its real owners”.
For his part, Father Mikhael Finenger read the message of Cardinal Jean Loui Touran, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to the forum where he pointed to the role of religion relations committee with Islam which was found by Pop Pol VI.
The Letter pointed out that Catholic Christians were called to know and understand Islam in a better way to pave the way for a world where men and women are allowed to enjoy social justice, freedom and peace.
Following the Forum, Presidential and Medial Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Sha’aban told SANA in a statement that Patriarch Laham’s message is an important one and it reminds of that of the Second Vatican Council of 1965 which affirmed the unification of the three heavenly religions.
Syria represents an example of the unification of the three religions, Sha’aban said, expressing belief that Syria could be the world Icon and example since its people, Muslims and Christians, feel as they are one family in facing the crimes being perpetrated in the name of Islam that aim, not only separation between Muslims and Christians, but also defaming the image of Islam in the minds of the world.