Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land
and Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center organized a meeting
with H. E. Sheikh ‘Azzam Al-Khateeb, the General Director of the
Jerusalem Awqaf and the affairs of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque
Sanctuary. Great numbers of Bishops and priests as well as secular
persons accompanied the two Centers to express their unequivocal
support of fellow Muslims in their defense of Al-Aqsa in these
difficult circumstances. We believe that all faithful should take
similar steps to support the recognized status quo of this Islamic
Holy place. This means that Al-Aqsa belongs to Muslims only. The
delegation expressed their love and appreciation of fellow Muslims
in their steadfastness in light of aggression of extremists Jews.
Palestinian Christians included H. E. Bishop William Shomali, H. E.
Bishop ‘Atalla Hanna, H. E. Bishop Butros Malki and a number of
other Christian clergy including Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, Archimandrite
Malathius Basal, Fr. Sham’on Jan, Fr. ‘Issa Musleh, Fr. ‘Abdallah
Julio Brunella, Fr. Suheil Fakhoury, Fr. Firas Hijazin, and Fr.
Michael Shawqi. The delegation included as well as Rev. Dr. Na’im
‘Ateeq, Director of Sabeel Center and Dr. Geries S. Khoury, Director
of Al-Liqa’ Center, Sawsan Bitar, Mr. Lawrence Sammour and Mr. Omar
The Palestinian Christian delegation was received and welcomed by H.
E. Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, H. E.
Sheikh ‘Azzam Al-Khateeb, H. E. Mr. ‘Adnan Al-Husseini, the Governor
of Jerusalem and officers and employee in the Noble Al-Aqsa area.
Rev. Dr. Na’im ‘Ateeq delivered in the name of Sabeel and Al-Liqa’
statement that was prepared by the two centers in which he thanked
Muslim religious personalities and governor for their great welcome.
(Read the statement)
H. E. Sheikh Muhammad Hussein responded by thanking the two Centers
on this step which stressed that all of us are children of Palestine
who believe in shared living.
Muslim and Christian holy places are Holy places that belong to all
of us. We need to guard and protect them against those who aggress
against Christian places like the Tabgha Church and the Latrun
Monastery. All of us are targeted and we need to be united in the
face of aggression against Muslim and Christian places.
H. E. Governor of Jerusalem, Mr. ‘Adnan Al-Husseini welcomed the
delegation and thanked this exceptional initiative by the two
Centers. He thanked all bishops, priests, monks and others who came
to express their support of Al-Aqsa.
H. E. Bishop Atallah Hanna and H. E. Bishop William Shomali stressed
national unity and shared living in their talks and thanked the two
The last speaker was H. E. Sheikh ‘Azzam Al-Khateeb who thanked the
delegation in its unequivocal support of their fellow Muslims in
their darkest hours and in light of the many challenges that face
the Palestinian Arab people. He added that the clear stand of His
Majesty King ‘Abdallah II of Jordan is highly appreciated. King
‘Abdallah II said of the 144 Dunums of Al-Aqsa area are for Al-Aqsa
sactuary and we do not accept any changes in the status quo even if
it is a one centimeter.
Following the delegation’s visit, the mass media interviewed members
and covered this event.