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Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land

Al-Liqa’ Center in cooperation with the Learned Muslim Association in Palestine,
Sabeel Center in Jerusalem, The Social Development Society in Haifa
and the Wi’am Center in Bethlehem

A Muslim Christian Conference in Bethlehem: Together Against Racism

Thursday 4 October 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
The Jacir Palace – Intercontinental Hall - Bethlehem

Photo album  

A conference on “Together against Racism” was held on Thursday 4 October 2012 at 3:00 p.m. This conference was organized by Al-Liqa’ Center in cooperation with the Learned Muslim Association in Palestine, Sabeel Center in Jerusalem, The Social Development Society in Haifa and the Wi’am Center in Bethlehem. The meeting hall was crowded with two hundred and fifty participants: religious leaders, and lay personalities from Jerusalem, the West Bank and from Galilee.

Dr. Geries S. Khoury was the moderator who introduced the governor of the Bethlehem Governorate ‘Abd Al-Fattah Hamayel whose brief remarks included special greetings from President Mahmud ‘Abbas, and the address by H.E. Sheikh ‘Ikrama Sabri the president of the Islamic Higher Council, the address of H.E. The Archbishop Elias Chaccour of the Melkite Catholic Church in Galilee, the address of H.E. Archbishop ‘Atallah Hanna of the Melkite Orthodox Sabastya, and the adress of H.E. Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Majeed ‘Ata, the Mufti of Bethlehem Governate. The conference included documented film about Muslim and Christian Holy places that have been desecrated by colonial settlers. Journalist Zuheir Al-Sha’er also presented a documentary in which the holy places were desecrated. There were commentaries by those attending the conference. In conclusion, Dr. ‘Abd Al-Rahman ‘Abbad read the final communique of the Conference.

 

The Bethlehem Statement

In the conference held in the city of Bethlehem on October 4, 2012 for condemning and denouncing aggressions against apostles and prophets and against Christian and Islamic holy places, and which was convened by Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land, The Commission of Muslim Religious Men (‘Ulamaa’), Al-Sabeel Center, the Social development Society (Haifa) and the Wi’aam Center and with active participation by institutions, bodies, societies, unions and Christian and  Islamic religious men and women from all the homeland and with the presence of a number of political bodies in the Palestinian territories, university professors and a number of  juristic and popular personalities , and after delivering  a number of speeches by the spiritual heads and presenting documentary films, an extensive discussion took place in which the participants expressed their dissatisfaction, dismay and anger with the series of recurring violations of the Islamic and Christian holy places. The latest of which was two days ago when a group of Jewish settlers and under the protection of the Israeli army broke into al-Aqsa Mosque, and the attack on the Church “Dormition of the Virgin Mary” and writing racist slogans and insults of Jesus Christ on the entrance door of the Franciscan Monastery. The conference came up with the following recommendations:

Firstly: The necessity of respecting the privacy of religious  as being the basis for local, regional and international stability, peace and security.

Secondly: Working on issuing a UN resolution which incriminates aggression on prophets and apostles whether by writing or drawing or sculpting or different arts or films or other forms of expressions.

Thirdly: Condemning the frequent Israeli acts against Palestinian human rights and Palestinian holy places which had extended for past decades and which continue with high rate and which are represented by destroying mosques and churches and burning them, aggression on cemeteries, tombs and sanctuaries, burning and tearing up of holy books and writing racist mottos against the Palestinians.

Fourthly: Appealing to the believers who protest against these insults to adhere to the ethical values of Christianity and Islam in order not to give the opportunity to the claims of those who accuse us of being violent and terrorists.

Fifthly: The conferees emphasized the necessity of ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories which is the cause for all transgressions on the dignity of the Palestinian and violating his holy places. They appeal to the international society to apply all international resolutions related to the Palestinian Question and to support the Palestinians in establishing their independent state with noble Jerusalem as its capital.

Issued in Bethlehem on the fourth of October 2012