Hundreds took part in a Distinguished Interfaith Encounter in Haifa
in which H.E. Bishop Butros Al-Mu’allem was honored
Tens of leading religious leaders and personalities: Christians,
Muslims and Druze, as well as academicians, community leaders
including Mayors and members of municipalities, cultural and
educational leaders attended this distinguished interfaith gathering
in which H. E. Bishop Al-Mu’allem was honored.
The evening was inaugurated by the president of Al-Liqa’ Center, H.
B. Patriarch Michael Sabbah who focused briefly on the work of
Al-Liqa and on the accomplishments of Bishop Al-Mu’allem. He was
followed by H. E. George Baq’uni, Bishop of the Melkite Catholic
Church in Galilee, spiritual leader of the Druse community, Sheikh
Muwaffaq Tarif, the Imam of Haifa Mosque, Knesset member Mr. Ayman
‘Odeh, the Mayor of ‘Aylaboun, Mr. Geries Mater, all of whom focused
on the life and accomplishments of the honored Bishop, and the
importance of a life together with mutual respect and the necessity
to know each other’s faith and spiritual traditions, and all of them
asserted the importance of shared living and the dismissal of
extremism and terror and called for love and peace.
Dr. Geries S. Khoury, Al-Liqa’s Director focused on al-Liqa
interfaith activities since 1982 and the rich experience which
al-Liqa have in this field. He also spoke about the unique relations
between Bishop Mu’llem and al-Liqa programs. He said al-Liqa is
honoring Bishop Mu’llem because he was and still one of those who
participating and enriching al-Liqa conferences by his ideas,
comments and lectures. Dr. Johnny Mansour focused on Al-Mu’allem’s
writings and thought. Several friends of the Bishop greeted him
warmly and stressed the urgency of such meetings in which religious
and social leaders are meeting each other and stressing the
importance of our life together in tolerance and peace. Among the
friends was H. E. Bishop Elias Chaccour, H. E. Bishop Marcuzzo, Fr.
Atallah Makhouli, (Greek Orthodox Parish Priest of Kufur Yasif,
Attorney ‘Ali Rafa’, and Rev. Fu’ad Dagher of the Anglican Apostolic
Church of Shafa ‘Amr.
The brother of the Bishop, Mr. Yousef Al-Mu’allem spoke and thanked
Al-Liqa’ on behalf of Al-Mu’allem family for the successful
interfaith meeting, in which also al-Liqa and all participants
decided to honor Bishop Mu’llem. This was followed by hymns by Mar
Elias Choir led by chanter Edwar Sae’d.
This great and distinguished evening was moderated by Attorney
Badera Khourieh and Mr. Ziad Shlewit.
At the end of the meeting, H. E. Bishop Butros thanked Al-Liqa’
Center and all those who greeted and honored him. He added: “My
message to you is that we must not be silent… on this day, I weep on
the values and the human that we have lost. Jesus is for all of us
and we must carry His Message.”
Amidst the standing ovation and clapping of the large gathering, H.
E. the Bishop emphasized: “All walls fell down from Babel to Berlin…
all separation walls will fall down… we are not in need of
separation walls… we need bridges of cooperation.”
During the evening a power point presentation of the Bishop’s
Overview of his life was prepared by Dr. Usama Al-Mu’allem.
Al-Liqa’ Center, in addition, presented H. E. Bishop Butros with a
distinguished mother of Pearl shield.
Al-Mu’allem Family, likewise, presented Al-Liqa’ Center with a
shield of appreciation.
It should be noted that Fr. George Khawwam, the Superior of the
Missionary Society of Saint Paul-
Harissa / Lebanon, to which Bishop Al-Mu’allem, is a member, also
sent a message of greeting to the Bishop which was read by the
moderator Attorney Badira Khourieh.
At the conclusion of the evening, a booklet revolving around H. E.
Bishop Al-Mu’allem life and interfaith and ecumenical activities was
distributed and hospitality followed.