Celebration in Bethlehem
to inaugurate two books of Dr. Geries S. Khoury
Bethlehem, February 24, 2007
Dept. of Humanities/Bethlehem University, PASSIA-Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, Bethlehem Music Academy Arab Women Union/Bethlehem, WIAM-Conflict Resolution Center/Bethlehem, Middle East Council of Churches/Jerusalem, ARIJ-Applied Research Institute/Jerusalem, and The Creative Cultural Forum/Bethlehem organized a celebration to present Dr. Geries S. Khoury’s recent books “Christian Arabs” and “Christian and Muslim Arabs”, both of which were published by Al-Liqa’ Center in 2006. Celebration took place on Saturday 14th of February at 5:00 p.m. in the Bethlehem Peace Center.
Those present at the celebration included H.B. the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr Dr. Michael Sabbah; Archbishop of Acres, Haifa, Nazareth and all of Galilee, Dr. Elias Chachour; the Melkite Catholic Bishop of Jerusalem, George Baker; member of the Fatwa Council in Palestine, Shaykh Najib Ja’bari; Mayor of Bethlehem, Dr. Victor Batarseh; Mayor of Beit Jala, Mr. Raji Zeidan; members of the Palestine Legistaive Council, Mr Fayez El - Saqa, Mr ‘Isa Qaraqe’, and Dr. Bernard Sabella and large number of clerics and laity, academicians, journalists, educators and representatives of NGO’s as well as tens of citizens of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahur and the Governorate.
Dr. Saleem Zoughbi, of Bethlehem Academy of Music, moderated the celebrations. Archbishop Dr. Elias Chacour spoke very highly of Dr. Khoury and his two books, both of which are seen as great contributions to interfaith dialogue and the call for common living. He called for brotherhood and unity as well as for constructive dialogue and competition.
Dr. Walid Mustafa, Dean of Arts at Bethlehem University, stressed the importance of the two books at the time when sectarianism is on the rise in nearby countries. National unity is much needed in school, in the mass media as well as in religious practices, Dr. Mustafa examined Dr. Khoury’s book “Christian and Muslim Arabs” in details citing the role of Christians in Palestinian society and the relations of Christians and Muslims throughout the ages.
Mr. Mousa Darwish, Deputy Director of Al-Liqa’ complimented Dr. Khoury on the role he has been playing in interfaith dialogue and Christian – Muslim brotherhood and solidarity.
H.B. Michael Sabbah demanded the awakening of Christians to their message and to their role in society and for the dire need to strengthen Christian – Muslim relations in face of fanaticism and rectarianism.
Dr. Bernard Sabella underlined national unity expressing the hope that the Mecca Agreement will bring internal Palestinian peace end tranquility.
Dr. Victor Batarseh congratulated Al-Liqa’ Center on its silver jubilee and presented on behalf of he sponsoring institutions of this celebration a plaque as a gesture of good will and appreciation of Dr. Khoury’s role in the community.
The celebrations were concluded with a response of thanks and appreciation from Dr. Khoury; and an impressive reception was held to conclude the celebration to which Archbishop Chacour contributed generously.