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

“Shared Living is a Guarantee to National Unity”

 Shafa ‘Amr
9 September 2014

At the invitation of the Culture and Arts division of the municipality of Shafa ‘Amr and its head Murad Haddad, a municipal Council member, a panel was held in the municipality hall on Tuesday evening titled: “Shared Living is a Guarantee to National Unity” which was attended by members of society, both clerics and secular, as well as members of municipal council.

Mayor Ameen ‘Anabtawi welcomed the gathering pointing out the crimes that are being committed by Da’ish in the name of religion even though it is closer to ugly animalistic behavior.

Proceeding of the panel began with remarks by media specialist Mr. Sa’eed Hasanein in which he spoke of current developments in the Arab World and warned of conspiracies to divide and fragment it.

     

He was followed by media specialist Mr. Ziad Shlewet who portrayed Shafa ‘Amr as a city which symbolizes shared living and distinguished pluralism in which church and mosque stand together along the Khilwa (place of prayer in the Druze villages and cities) and the synagogue where the children of sects lived together throughout the ages.

These remarks were followed by spiritual contemplations by Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Majeed Al-Hayja’, Imam of the old Mosque, who read from a book on the Prophet which was written by an Egyptian Christian, Nazmi Luqa, who was highly critical of the criminal deeds of Da’ish. Druze Sheikh Yusuf Abu ‘Ubayd called for love, tolerance and unity which emphasize shared living. Father Andrawos Bahhuth, parish priest of the church of the True Saints Peter and Paul, read from the Holy Bible about the relation of man to God.

     

These spiritual remarks were followed by a panel comprising Judge Dr. Ahmad Natur, the former Head of the Islamic Shari’a Court; Dr. Geries S. Khoury, Director of Al-Liqa’ Center; and Prof. Kais Ferro of Haifa University. This panel was moderated by Mr. Sa’eed Hasanein and Mr. Ziad Shlewet.

Professor Kais Ferro focused on the Takfeeri (those who accuse others of unbelief) movements and pointed out that this is a result of the modernization process that we are experiencing. He pointed out that the nationalist thought which appeared in late 19th Century did not penetrate among the masses thus giving the way for fanatic religious movements to dominate. The role of elites is not effective in underdeveloped countries.

Judge Dr. Natur focused on Western role especially since the rise of George W. Bush in demonizing Islam and added that the West attempted to impose democracy on us which led to destruction and chaos and the rise of Da’ish.

Dr. Geries S. Khoury expressed his personal concern and the concern of Christian Arabs of what is happening in the region pointing out in the process the worries of minorities in the face of Takfeeri movements. He called for shared living and for introducing new materials in the curricula which emphasize the role of Arab Christians in building Arabic Islamic civilization. He called for Palestinian society in the 1948 areas to strengthen shared living and express loudly its position concerning main events in the area. He said, the local voices of both learned (‘Ulama’) Muslim leaders and political leaders are very weak compared with voices in Lebanon, Egypt and other countries.

Those attending this Shafa ‘Amr gathering sponsored Judge Dr. Natur’s suggestion of establishing a body for national guidance in the 1948 areas which will deal seriously with national unity and will organize common encounters and will intercede in case sectarian unrest takes place and in case a change in curriculum is needed. This proposed body will comprise elements with nationalist, social and religious credibility.