Al-Liqa’ Center held a ceremonial panel focusing on 50 years of
“Nostra Aetate”, 1965-2015.
Tens of Palestinians and others secular and clerical, as well as
academicians and community leaders, males and females, attended this
Dr. Geries S. Khoury welcomed attendees followed by a minute of
silence for the souls of martyrs. H. B. Fu’ad Twal, the Latin
Patriarch in Jerusalem, focused on “Nostra Aetate” stressing the
importance of prayer in the area of dialogue; for it facilitates
shared living. H. E. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Delegate in
Jerusalem and Palestine, spoke of his experience as faithful and
bishop adding that the Church contributed significantly in the area
of dialogue. H. E. Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Majeed ‘Ata, Mufti of the
Bethlehem Governorate, focused on Palestinian struggle and national
unity between Muslims and Christians. He added that extremists will
not thwart our march toward peace and reconciliation.
Following a short coffee break a panel was held on “The Relations of
the Catholic Church with Muslims”.
Fr. Rif’at Bader, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and
Media in Jordan, stressed that the end of the apostolic mission of
Pope John Paul II formed the culture of Dialogue in the Church;
during Pope Benedict and Pope Francis’ periods further gains were
made in the area of dialogue despite the present danger in the world
and the Middle East, and quoted from Dr. Lana Mamkig: “We
should not be satisfied with respecting diversity, but we have
rather to live it with joy.”
Sheikh Maher ‘Assaf, Religious Guide in the Political and
Nationalist Guidance in Bethlehem, added many Qur’anic verses
calling for the respect and cooperation with the other, while Dr.
Mustafa Abu Sway of Jerusalem University, focused on the need to
negate violence and extremism in all religion as well as cooperation
between followers of religions.
Dr. Geries S. Khoury, the last panelist, clarified the content of
“Nostra Aetate” and stressed the need to forget negatives of the
past and to work for positive aspects and mutual respect for our
present and future.