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

Christians and Muslims from Jerusalem and the Bethlehem Governorate:

A Study Day in the Villages and Cities of Galilee

Sharing Living Program

Sunday, 20 April 2015

Photo album

Al-Liqa’ Center’s Shared Living program organized this study day in Galilee where tens of Palestinians representing various sectors of society, academicians, physicians, teachers, community leaders and young people took part in this program.

The first stop was the city and the Roman and Byzantine relics of Caesarea as well as the different epochs: the Islamic, the crusades (the Franks), the Ottomans, the British and Israeli periods where the Palestinian citizens were uprooted as a result of the 1948 Nakbeh, both Muslims and Christians. The group was informed of the importance of Cesarean to Christian enlightenment in theology and philosophy as seen in Saint Origin and Eusebius of Caesarea, also called Eusebius Pamphili    (flourished 4th century, Caesarea Palestinae, Palestine), bishop, exegete, polemicist, and historian whose account of the first centuries of Christianity, in his Ecclesiastical History, is a landmark in Christian historiography.

    

The group then travelled north to Haifa and visited the Church of Mar Elias – Elijah (The Prophet Elias, The Living One) and his challenge to Ezabel, the wife of Ahab, the Israeli king, who wanted to spread paganism in the land of Israel. (See the Book of Kings: 17)

The group listened also to the story of the Prophet Elias as seen in the Qur’an.

Then Mr. Lawrence Sammour of Al-Liqa’ chanted the Troparion of Saint Elias to the group.

From Stella Mares the group visited the Baha’i gardens and listened to the Baha’i Center’s history and visited it.

Following Haifa the group visited Acres (Akka), saw a movie about the history of the city and went to the Pasha Bath and afterward visited the Mosque of Al-Jazzar and they were hosted by the Imam of the Mosque, Sheikh Sameer Muhammad Al-‘Asi who stressed Muslim Christian shared living and national unity and the common work for peace and justice in the Holy Land and warned of religious extremism and fanaticism. The Imam, in addition, gave an overview of the Mosque and its unique structure in Palestine. It is reported that “Hairs from the Prophet are located in the Mosque” were presented early in the early 20th century by the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd Al-Hamid to Imam and Sheikh As’ad Al-Shuqairi. It is exhibited to the public once a year in the month of Ramadan.

    

Dr. Nasri Qumsieh, a friend of Al-Liqa’ and Prof. Thiab ‘Ayyoush, the Vice President of Al-Liqa’s Board of Trustees thanked the Imam Al-‘Asi for his hospitality and told him that many of his principles are common to Al-Liqa’ Center as well.

Following Acres, the group went to Al-Jish Village in the north which is very close to the Lebanese borders and on the way the group saw many cities and villages inhabited by Christians, Muslims, Druze and Jews.

    

The study day was concluded by a visit to the uprooted villages such as Kufur Bar’am, al-Mansura and Iqrit where Dr. Geries S. Khoury, the Director of Al-Liqa’ briefed the group on each of these forced uprooted villages in the 1948 Nakbeh as happened to uprooted other five hundred Palestinian Arab towns and villages in the 1948 Nakbeh. Kufur Bar’am and Iqrit were expelled from the villages on the Lebanese borders on the condition that the residents would return two weeks after. The Israeli Supreme court voted for their return, but authorities eventually destroyed the two villages.

From Iqrit the group then returned to Bethlehem. During the return trip the group participated in prayers, invocations and afterwards listened to and participated in singing many popular and religious songs.

All participants were satisfied with this long but useful and important study day for their life together and because they rediscover their common roots.