Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land
Al-Liqa’ Center and Sabeel Center
Study Day titled
“A Reading and an Exegesis of some Verses from the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an”
1 March 2012
Al-Liqa’ and Sabeel Centers held a study day in the city of Rafidia (Nablus) which was attended by more than sixty Christian and Muslim clerics in addition to lay people from the Governorates of Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah.
H.E. Bishop Atallah Hanna welcomed conferees and emphasized the need to hold such study days and encounters which contribute greatly to knowing each other and the other’s belief and spiritual legacy as well as strengthening the unity of the Palestinian people.
In his opening remarks Dr. Geries S. Khoury focused on his happiness for holding the study day despite the bad weather which caused many people to apologize from coming. Needless to say that rain is God’s blessing.
Dr Khoury mentioned that Al-Liqa’ and Sabeel Centers decided already to hold a series of encounters and study days in 2012. Those interested in this joint program can see it in Al-Liqa’ Center’s website.
Dr. Khoury emphasized the importance of these gatherings for everyone who will get the religious and academic benefits and will lead to friendship and encounters between the people and between Christian and Muslim clerics in cities and villages that they live in which deepen national unity. Dr. Khoury thanked Dr. ‘Abd Al-Rahman ‘Abbad and Fr. Joseph Saghbini for their willingness to be the main speakers hoping that this study day, revolving around the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible will contribute to build bridges between the followers of the two religions.
The first lecture was delivered by Dr. ‘Abbad and Fr. Saghbini and was moderated by Rev. Ibrahim Nairuz who made available his church’s hall to the study day. He mentioned that the doors of his church will always be opened to those who want to further national unity and shared living.
Dr. ‘Abbad began his lecture by emphasizing that Islam is the religion of love which calls for dialogue with people of the Book. He read and explained some verses of the Qur’an and gave examples how Islam respects human life and in the process he quoted the following Qur’anic verse: “On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people” (Al-Ma’ida,32). Dr. ‘Abbad, in addition, explained the differences between a pagan (- ãÔÑßMushrik) and those who go astray ( ÖÇá- Dall) and between disbelief (ßÝÑ) and unbeliever(ßÇÝÑ) in the Qur’an.
Dr. ‘Abbad’s lecture was followed by Fr. Joseph Saghbini who focused in his speech on the Christian teachings saying that it encourages faithful to love one another and to love all other humans. He mentioned also that the message of the church is to encourage faithful to respect one another and to treat the others as brothers and sisters since all were created by God on His Image.
Following a Lunch break attendees were divided into three discussion groups who examined the issue of common moral and ethical values to Christians and Muslims. Then each of the three discussion groups presented their findings.
This was followed with general discussion concerning the study day and future horizons.
In conclusion Islamic propagator (Da’iyah) Zuheir al-Dibi’ summarized the study day and expressed the dire need of such days in order to strengthen relations between Christians and Muslims. The concluding remarks were by Rev. Dr. Na’im ‘Ateeq, Director of Sabeel who thanked all those present as well as Al-Liqa’ Center and its cooperation with the Sabeel Center. And thanked all those who came and he commented in a beautiful way on the term “God is Great”, hoping that these encounters and meetings will continue.