Interviu Teodor Baconschi – Est-Vest, renaştere şi debandadă spirituală – fragmente

Theodor Baconschi

Am selectat mai jos citeva fragmente dintr-un foarte interesant interviu acordat de Teodor Baconschi lui Cristian Patrasconiu pentru platforma LaPunkt. Sper ca ele va vor motiva sa citi intregul interviu, care poate fi accesat la linkul de mai sus.

Avem de-a face, desigur, cu o perspectiva conservatoare si ortodoxa, asumata in mod deschis de autor. Ceea ce nu inseamna insa ca aceasta il scuteste de anumite interpretari partizane si subiective, desigur, inevitabile in orice demers intelectual cinstit.

Enumar, in fuga, citeva dintre acestea:

  • perspectiva exclusiv negativa asupra procesului de secularizare in Europa
  • invinuirea exclusiva a protestantismului pentru acest ‘flagel’
  • cresterea prezentei musulmane in Europa privita preponderent ca o amenintare
  • atitudinea implicit critica fata de papa Francisn, pus in contract cu ‘ultimul papă conservator, Benedict al XVI-lea’

si la acestea as putea adauga si altele, dar va las s-o faceti voi insiva.

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Societatea românească e un mozaic de fracturi. Aveam, la 1900, un retard istoric de cel puțin 100 de ani față de Occident (evident, e o apreciere pur estimativă). Aproape un secol mai târziu, când a căzut comunismul, eram, iarăși, una dintre cele mai sărace țări de pe continent. Deși ne-au ajutat să ne dezvoltăm, tranziția democratică și integrarea euro-atlantică n-au făcut decât să ne așeze întru-un sistem de referință care ne-a agravat complexele de inferioritate. Pe acest fundal dislocat, regăsirea tradiției precomuniste, cu o Biserică Ortodoxă liberă, s-a făcut adesea formal și zgomotos, fără creșterea organică de care au nevoie procesele istorice firești. Am intrat în mileniul trei cu povara acestor handicapuri. Prin urmare, nu putem încă avea o atitudinea critică față de Occident: nu l-am trăit pe dinăuntru. Dacă ne socotim ca parte integrantă a lui, ne ies oricând la iveală reminiscențele comuniste și orientale. Dacă îl respingem, nu prea avem ce să punem în loc. Avem, cum s-a spus, o modernizare lipsită de modernitate. Am copiat, în loc să asimilăm. Cu alte cuvinte, în loc să spunem ce e greșit amenajat ”la ei”, ne sar în ochi propriile defecțiuni de parcurs.Read More »

Nadine Al-Budair – How Would Muslims Act If Christian Terrorists Blew Themselves Up In Their Midst

Nadine Al-Budair
Nadine Al-Budair

Liberal Saudi journalist Nadine Al-Budair, who lives in Qatar, penned an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai in which she wondered how Muslims would have acted if Christians had blown themselves up in their midst or tried to force their faith on them. She called on the Muslim world to be introspective and enact reforms, instead of condemning Western attitudes towards it.

The following are excerpts from the article:

“Imagine a Western youth coming here and carrying out a suicide mission in one of our public squares in the name of the Cross. Imagine that two skyscrapers had collapsed in some Arab capital, and that an extremist Christian group, donning millennium-old garb, had emerged to take responsibility for the event, while stressing its determination to revive Christian teachings or some Christian rulings, according to its understanding, to live like in the time [of Jesus] and his disciples, and to implement certain edicts of Christian scholars…

“Imagine hearing the voices of monks and priests from churches and prayer houses in and out of the Arab world, screaming on loudspeakers and levelling accusations against Muslims, calling them infidels, and chanting: ‘God, eliminate the Muslims and defeat them all.’Read More »

12 Must-Reads on Mission and Islam by Fuller Professors

Source: 12 Must-Reads on Mission and Islam by Fuller Professors :: Fuller

An list of essential reading for those who want to understand Islam from a non-Islamophobic Christian perspective.

Bishop Angaelos on the US State Department Declaration of Genocide Against Religious Minorities in the Middle East

 

Bishop Angaelos
His Grace, Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Church

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the United States State Department declaration of Genocide for Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and other minorities in the Middle East


17 March 2016

We have received very welcomed but unexpected news today from the United States of America, through Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that ISIS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims”.

This announcement has come after individuals and organisations in the United States, some of which I have personally worked with, have advocated tirelessly to shed light on this important issue of human suffering and the violation of human dignity.Read More »

CEEAMS – Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

The Central and Eastern European Association for Mission Studies (CEEAMS) is pleased to invite you to the conference

Green pastures? Human Mobility and Christian Communities in Central and Eastern Europe

After the fall of the Communist system, migration experiences in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) intensified and diversified. During Communist times emigration existed in forms of political asylum-seeking or through creative ways to reach the so-called West. Also exchange studentships to befriended countries were some of the variations of migration. While the opening of the political borders after the “changes” in 1989/1990 did generate migration from CEE to mainly Western Europe and North America, migration to CEE through people
such as missionaries, international investors, tourists, small entrepreneurs, labor migration, students, professionals had a significant impact on community formation. Typical to these migrations was that it included people from all over the world, from west and north and east and south. Since most of the post-communist countries did not have well-developed migration policies, CEE became an intently diverse field where people of all sorts with a variety of aspirations arrived and left. The “Yugoslav Wars” challenged some of the Balkan countries to experiment with asylum-seeking and refugee services.

Another significant event regarding migration experiences in CEE was the enlargement of the European Union with new, former communist member states. This resulted in substantial labor migration from CEE to Western Europe, especially from Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, but now also from Hungary and other countries. The consequences of the ” Arab Spring”, especially the complex wars in Syria, intensified the refugee question. Next to the cross-border migrations, domestic migration further complicates the processes of transformations in CEE societies. Also the fragility of the internal political situation in a number of CEE countries – with growing right wing tendencies targeting the “foreigner” (read e.g. Roma people, Muslims, and Arab) in their rhetoric – add to these complexities.
Discussions about and responses with immediate action programs (like e.g. building fences etc.) to certain phenomena generated by migration, became part of the daily life at all levels of societies.

Christian communities, churches and other faith communities are part of the above described societies and migration experiences. In their daily service they encounter situations which demand grounded theological-missiological answers, because after all, migration experiences are about human lives and changes in human lives and societies. Missiologists, theologians, and reflective practitioners are challenged to theologically- missiologically reflect on questions about human mobility in this region and their relation to the larger worldwide processes, in order to adequately assist the work of churches, ministers, pastors, and above all church members to find contextually relevant answers. In order to address the issue of human mobility, one needs to dig deeper: it is not sufficient to create Christian discourses about migration by collecting proof verses from the Bible which talk about people on the move, and about the position of strangers. Digging deeper asks for self-reflection: what is going on in Christian communities in terms of migration? What do Christians in this part of the world believe about different aspects of migration and why do they do so? What are the most striking aspects of migration which need theological attention?Read More »

Morocco Declaration: Muslim Nations Should Protect Christians from Persecution | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com

In Marrakesh, hundreds of Muslim leaders release modern update to Muhammad’s Charter of Medina.

Source: Morocco Declaration: Muslim Nations Should Protect Christians from Persecution | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com

This is a very important declaration, which, I am afraid, will go again unnoticed in the current Islamophobia that dominates the so-called ‘Christian West’.

Miroslav Volf, Allah – The Pneuma Review

Source: Miroslav Volf: Allah : The Pneuma Review

Here is an excellent review of Miroslav Volf’s book Allah. A Christian Response, by Pentecostal theologian Amos Young.

Christian de Chergé – Testamentul unui martir al iubirii

Christian de Chergé
Christian de Chergé

Dacă mă va ajunge ziua – și aceasta ar putea fi chiar astăzi – în care să fiu victima terorismului care pare că vrea să-i „înghită” pe toți străinii care trăiesc în Algeria, mi-ar plăcea ca comunitatea mea, ca Biserica mea, ca familia mea să-și amintească de faptul că viața mea a fost DĂRUITĂ lui Dumnezeu și acestei țări. Ca ei să accepte că singurul Stăpân al vieții nu poate fi străin de această brutală plecare. Ca ei să se roage pentru mine: cum aș putea fi eu vrednic de o astfel de ofrandă? Ca ei să știe să asocieze această moarte cu atâtea altele la fel de violente, lăsate în indiferență și anonimat.

Viața mea nu valorează mai mult decât alta. Nici mai puțin. În orice caz, ea nu mai are inocența copilăriei. Am trăit suficient ca să mă știu complice cu răul care, vai!, pare să prevaleze în lume și chiar cu cel care mă va lovi orbește. Mi-ar plăcea, atunci când va veni momentul, să am acea clipă de luciditate care să-mi permită a-i cere iertare lui Dumnezeu și tuturor fraților mei întru umanitate și în același timp să-i iert din toată inima pe cei care mă vor fi lovit.Read More »

Reportaj Apollonia TV – Refugiatii, o provocare pentru Europa

Reportaj Apollonia TV legat de Dezbaterea cu tema ‘Refugiatii, o provocare pentru Europa’ organizata de Asociatia Onesimus la Muzeul Unirii din Iasi, simbata 8 ianuarie.

Ahmed Rehab speaks at Dr. Larycia Hawkins Press Conference

As the only Muslim speaker at the Chicago faith leaders’ press conference with professor Larycia Hawkins this morning, CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director Ahmed Rehab spoke on behalf of Chicago area Muslims to convey appreciation for her as her own magnanimous act of solidarity with us now puts her in the crosshairs. But we will do more than talk. We will act. Please stay tuned for action alerts as we confer with Dr. Hawkins and her lawyers.

CAIR-Chicago will not abandon those who stand with us as Dr. Hawkins has. We will NOT let her stand alone.

Interview with Myriam, A Child from Qaraqoush

The discussion with this ten-year-old girl from Mosul becomes Christian broadcaster SAT-7’s most-watched interview ever.

Read HERE more about this subject.

Vinoth Ramachandra – Pocket-Sized Gods?

vinoth_ramachandra
Vinoth Ramachandra

The Malaysian Church, in recent decades, was engaged in a prolonged legal battle with their Islamist-influenced government which prohibited non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to the supreme God and creator. Church leaders received directives stating that several words of Arabic origin, including Allah, Nabi (prophet) and Al Kitab (Bible) were not to be used by non-Muslims as Arabic was the language of Muslims. Usage by Christians would sow the seeds of “confusion”. The import of Malay Bibles printed in Indonesia (which used Allah) was effectively banned.

Christians countered by pointing out that Allah was the common term used to refer to the supreme God long before Islam came into existence in North Africa. Arab Christians continue to worship God as Allah and Malay-speaking Christians have also been using Allah for centuries. Far from sowing “confusion”, it has facilitated communication and promoted mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims.

Clearly this was more than a matter of official historical ignorance. Islamists fearful of the conversion of Muslims sought to deter the latter from reading the Bible by claiming that Christians and Muslims worship different Gods. They have been successful. Christians lost the legal battle, with dire consequences for the future of social justice and religious harmony in Malaysia.

How ironic, then, to find these Islamist arguments flourishing among conservative Christians in the so-called American Bible Belt.Read More »

Marc Barnes – Why “Getting Along” Isn’t Working

coexist

These violent, extremist, and racist days need to try the discussion of our differences all over again. No dumbass bumper-stickers this time. 

To tell the Jew that his culture is “worthy of respect” and “as valuable as any other culture” is to insult him in a far worse manner than telling him that the Jews can piss off. Being Jewish is precisely a being set-apart, being a chosen race and a royal priesthood. The recapitulation of the Jew as dwelling within the same, homogeneous value-status as everyone else is a strike against his Jewishness. An insult, while nothing to strive for, at least recognizes the Jew as Jew, while our “compliment” hollows him of his Judaism and smiles at him as ”just another culture.”

In fact, the “equality of all cultures” excludes most cultures, for most cultures, from the Greeks to the Nigerians, are united by a vision of themselves as superior, destined, chosen — special. In a similar manner, the “equal dignity of all religions” excludes most religions, for most religions — whether Islam, Reformed Presbyterianism, or Judaism — only exist insofar as they are a series of absolute claims about the nature of God and of man, claims which by definition exclude contrary claims and thus can never be melted into a mediocre soup of “equal dignity” with “every other religion.”Read More »

Parable of the Good… Muslim

Source: Thoughtful Engagement – Gospel and Humanity

Did you ever read the Parable of the goo… Muslim?

Here it is.

Stephen Holmes – Mr Graham, you ain’t no Baptist, bruv – An open letter to Franklin Graham

franklin graham
Franklin Graham

ear Mr Graham,

This week someone who has put himself forward as a candidate for the presidency of your great nation made a number of hate-filled and inaccurate comments about Muslims, and proposed some extreme policies on the back of those comments. This came to our attention here in the UK because one of the things he claimed, entirely erroneously, was that parts of London were so radicalised that they had become no-go areas for our police and security services.

Our national response was, as our national responses so often are, as mocking as it was derisive. The mayor of London led the way, but on social media many of us joined in with the humour. I know London well; I trained for ministry there, took my PhD there, pastored my first church there, made, with my wife, our first home there, and saw two of our three daughters come into the world there. My home has been elsewhere for eleven years now, but it is a city I still visit several times a year, a city that still has a significant place in my heart. For all these reasons, I know that the truth about London was expressed far better by a young Muslim Londoner caught on camera as our police arrested someone who had attempted violence, pretending to represent Islam. In a pure London accent he called out to the attacker, ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv!’

London is an exhilarating and sometimes disorientating coming together of people of different national backgrounds and of different faiths; London is also a city that is passionate that people come together, without denying who they are. London Muslims are truly Muslim, and devoted the the peace of the city also; London Baptists the same, as I know well. In London, the person who believes the two are impossible to hold together will be told, straightforwardly, ‘You ain’t no Muslim, bruv.’Read More »

Brian McLaren – An Open Letter to Jerry Falwell Jr, Students and Faculty of Liberty University

Brian_McLaren

Dear Mr. Falwell,

In the tradition of your father, you made some reckless and inflammatory statements to your students the other day.

Just as I appreciate it when peace-loving Muslims, Hindus and others repudiate hostile and reckless statements made by prominent members of their religions, I feel impelled by conscience to repudiate your words as not being representative of authentic Christianity as I, and thousands like me, understand it.

For us, authentic Christianity is the loving, peaceful, justt and generous way of life embodied in Jesus. It is characterized more by self-giving than self-defense, by pre-emptive peacemaking rather than pre-emptive violence.

Your message faithfully represents a longstanding (and ugly) stream of American culture and politics. This tradition goes back to those who argued against the equal human rights and dignity of the Native Peoples and African-American slaves, often abusing the Bible to justify white supremacy under its various guises.Read More »

It’s Official – I Am Leaving World Vision

world-vision

Note: Today, my World Vision supervisor, Conny Lenneberg, the leaders of our region, made the official announcement about my leaving the organisation. Here is what she wrote.

* * *

Dear colleagues,

It is with great regret that we advise that, due to funding challenges in F[inancial] Y[ear] [20]16, we will not be able to maintain our Faith in Development Director Position held by Danut Manastireanu beyond February 2015.

Danut has played an instrumental part in the development of the Christian Witness and Spiritual Formation of our leadership and staff over the past 17 years. We are most appreciative of the dedication and passion he has brought to FnD throughout the entire MEER [Middle East & Eastern Europe] region.

Danut started his relationship with WV as a member of WV Romania’s advisory board in 1995, later joining as WV staff in the position of MEER Christian Commitments Director in 1999.  During his service with WV Danut has contributed in so many ways, developing FnD [Faith in Development] staff across the region, supporting the N[ational] O[ffice]s,  advocating on behalf of the region to ensure good understanding of both the unique inter-denominational sensitivities and complex inter-faith context.   Some of the highlights of his contribution include:  Read More »

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on His New Book ‘Not in God’s Name’

Notable Rabbi Jonathan Sacks talks to Andrew Marr on “The Andrew Marr Show” about the War on Terror; Islam; Islamic Extremism and the history of religion combining with war.

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If you are interested, you may listen below, to a lomger discussion about this very important book.

Are Islam’s Allah and Christianity’s God the Same Deity? | University Abbey

My virtual friend Carson Clark discusses in tis post the tough question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Here are just two comments on this matter:

  1. Until about a century ago, the unanimous answer of Christians was a resoundiong  ‘yes’. We need to ask ourselves what made us all to of a sudden doubt it.
  2. This question cannot be answered legitimately if we cannot also add to it the question if Christians and Jews worship the same God. If we answer yes to this question and no to the second, we are in a blatant contradiction.

 

Visit the post for more.

Source: Are Islam’s Allah and Christianity’s God the Same Deity? | University Abbey

My World Vision Story – 3 – From ‘Prisoner’ in the Communist Camp, to Globe Trotter

world-vision

From ‘prisoner’ in the communist camp, to globe trotter

I have started in my new adventure as a World Vision staff member on December 1st, 1999, one month before the turn of the Millennium. It was not an easy ride, by any means, but I have learned enormously during the last sixteen years as a staff member of this Christian humanitarian organisation.

Although my Christian ministry had from the beginning an ecumenical dimension, and my theological studies centred on contemporary Orthodox theology helped me to go beyond the narrow confines of the evangelicalism of my youth, it was in WV that I have come to understand in very real terms, and to be able to serve the entire breadth of the Church. Furthermore, it was in the WV context that I had real human interaction with people of other faith, and was often humbled by the sincerity of their commitment to a faith other than mine, and by their genuine love to others. Without my WV experience, these dimensions of faith would have remained theoretical, distant realities for me.Read More »

Miroslav Volf – In Light of the Paris Attacks, is it Time to Eradicate Religion?

Miroslav Volf1

Paris is where a long trail of blood and tears, meandering through the centuries and from continent to continent, has now stopped — for a brief while.

The Islamic State has taken the responsibility for the 129 dead and more than 350 injured, almost 100 of them seriously. In Paris as in many other places, the hands that pulled the triggers of Kalashnikov rifles and pulled the fuses of bombs to kill the innocent people belonged to men and women in whose hearts burned the fires of religious zeal.

Religion, it would seem, breeds violence. Far from being great, God might be thought terrible.

In a globalized world, the terror of God’s crazy-eyed followers is threatening lives, peace and prosperity of everyone on the planet. We are tempted to conclude: The sooner that humanity either eradicates or quarantines off religion, the better our world will be. This conclusion would be too hasty, however.Read More »

Executive Summary of 120 Islamic Scholars Addressed to Daesh

(RNS1-sept24) Nihad Awad, center, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, and more than 10 Muslim-American leaders Wednesday (Sept. 24) endorse a letter written by more than 100 Islamic scholars that denounces ISIS by relying on sacred Muslims texts. For use with RNS-MUSLIM-SCHOLARS, transmitted on September 24, 2014, Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe.
Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

1. It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an—or part of a verse—to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry-pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

2. It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

3. It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

4. It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

5. It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.Read More »

These Men Tried To Kill Each Other. Now They’re United For Peace.

Source: These Men Tried To Kill Each Other. Now They’re United For Peace.

 

This is an amazing story of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in NIgeria. I have written previously about this on my blog. You may find HERE a link tothe documentary.

Danut Manastireanu – Interviu pentru cotidianul Adevarul

Ramona Iacobute
Ramona Iacobute

In urma cu putin timp am avut deosebita placere a unei convorbiri prietenesti cu Ramona Iacobute, jurnalist in cadrul echipei din Iasi a ziarului Adevarul. Am discutat despre credinta, despre secularizare, despre islam si islamofobie, despre criza refugiatilor sirieni si multe altele. O parte a acestui dialog si-a gasit locul in interviul publicat astazi, 21 octombrie, 2015, de cotidianul Adevarul.

Redau mai jos prima parte a interviului.

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Ieşeanul doctor în Teologie ajuns în marile zone de conflict ale lumii: „Criza refugiaţilor e un turnesol pentru Europa. Arată lipsa de coerenţă, lipsa unui lider.”

DanutM

Dănuţ Mănăstireanu (60 ani), cu o vastă experienţă în zonele de conflict şi la catedrele universităţilor care au cursuri de istoria religiilor, îşi expune punctul de vedere în privinţa crizei imigranţilor din Siria şi a evoluţiei religiilor în Europa.Read More »

Interfaith Prayer for Peace

prayer of a child

O God, you are the source of life and peace.
Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turns our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of crisis.
Your power changes hearts.

Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember, and profoundly affirm,
that they are followers of the one God,
Children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another;
those who were estranged join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.

Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these
truths by the way we live.
Give to us:
Understanding that puts an end to strife;
Mercy that quenches hatred, and
Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.
Empower all people to live in your law of love.

And as a follower of Jesus,
I pray these things in the name of Christ.

Amen!

(Thanks to my friend Rev Mae Cannon for this annonimous prayer.)

Welcoming Those Less Fortunate

Welcoming those less fortunate

Comment by His Grace Bishop Angaelos,

General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom

22 September 2015

Until now, the Middle East crisis has been contained in that part of the world, and has, for some, become somewhat of a distant reality. If we have occasionally been moved by what we have seen or heard in reports, we have also had the relative comfort of being several steps removed from the situation. Now however, we are witnessing the movement of tens of thousands of desperate people fleeing that crisis and approaching the shores of Europe to seek refuge, and so the issue has become much more immediate and closer to home.Read More »

Mesajul unui pastor din Orientul Apropiat

Dragi pastori din Europa,

Salutări în Hristos,

Ne aflăm într-o perioadă de timp foarte critică în ceea ce privește refugiații care se îngrămădesc să intre în țările voastre. Aveți o oportunitate de aur. Fie o acceptați, fie o pierdeți și pierdeți și Europa pentru totdeauna.

Familiile care ajung pe țărmurile țărilor voastre sunt zdrobite, rănite și nevoiașe. Un bun venit călduros le-ar putea schimba perspectivele și convingerile numaidecât. Ei fug de tirania islamului și se află într-o luptă reală în ceea ce privește credințele lor. Ei au crescut cu mentalitatea că fac parte din cea mai bună națiune și religie creată vreodată pe pământ și creierele lor sunt spălate să creadă că toți ceilalți sunt pierduți. Nu li s-a permis niciodată să gândească sau să se îndoiască de aceste lucruri. Li s-a spus că vin de la Dumnezeu.Read More »

Message of A Palestinian Christian to ‘Christians United for Israel’

My name is Elizabeth Daoud. I, like over a million Palestinians, am both Palestinian and Christian. I actually come from the Assyrian Orthodox Church, the first and original church of Christians in the Middle East. My parents were born in Palestine and have a long blood line from Jerusalem and Bayte Sahour. Many members of my family were first hand victims of the “nakbah” and had to flee their homeland after being expelled from their homes by Zionist militias, leaving them without the right to return to their land, even to this day. Today in Palestine, Christianity is experiencing what some believe is a crisis. The plight of Palestinian Christians, similar to what Palestinian Muslims are going through, is daily injustice at the hands of oppressive, doctoral and inhumane police forces of the Israeli government. This is occurring in both the West Bank and Gaza, where my Palestinian people live under a brutal and illegal military occupation, and also inside Israel itself, where Palestinians, Muslim and Christian, live as second-class citizens.

Palestinian Christians, like their Muslim brothers and sisters, have lived under Israeli policies of occupation and injustice while many living in the West deny this fact. Many Palestinian Christians feel betrayed by Christians living in North America and Europe who support the state of Israel and the oppression of the Palestinian people. We see them as hypocritical, standing by a state that has left us Palestinians, indiscriminately Christian and Muslim, without a state for over half a century.

Today, Palestinian Christians live under harsh, extreme oppression and apartheid policies. While Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in the West Bank under the heavy hand of martial law are not permitted to vote, undocumented Jewish settlers are subject to civil law and are allowed to vote in Israeli elections. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who fought to end Apartheid in South Africa, has even embraced the movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until they respect my people’s equal rights, an end to the occupation and the return to the homeland which Israel expelled them from, saying, “I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces … Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.” Palestinian land continues to be confiscated and Palestinians continue to be humiliated by the Israelis for their religious beliefs. They were almost unable to celebrate Christmas in 2014 due to riots and street fights caused by the Israeli Police. They experience unemployment, poverty and illegal occupation. Moreover, they are routinely prohibited from visiting one of the most holy sites of Christianity: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem, the church that commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection from the dead.

As a Palestinian Christian, it is truly upsetting and disappointing to see Christians United for Israel justify the oppression of Palestinian Christians under the banner of Christian values. Palestinian Christians don’t have the smallest right to visit even the holiest of sites that started Christianity because of Israeli policies. How can Christians United for Israel be in support of this when indigenous Christians are being prevented from exercising Christianity in the very place that Jesus walked. I end this by calling upon CUFI to please stop justifying oppression, persecution and repression of my people in the name of the message of the Bible and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elizabeth Daoud is a Rutgers Business School senior double majoring in finance and management information systems.

(Source, HERE)

The Centre on Religion and Global Affairs

CRGA logo

Our approach to the interplay of religion and global affairs in 5 simple paragraphs!

1. Religions and beliefs play a major role in the way human beings locate themselves in the world and live their day-to-day lives, both as individuals and as communities. Therefore, religions are not simply a matter of personal beliefs about life after death or matter of transcendence. They have direct implications for social, political and economic interactions.

2. At their core, religions are attempts to offer a moral reading of the universe and answer fundamental questions of meaning, and how individuals and communities should live their lives, interact with each other and handle the process of human life. Thus, religions manifest not simply as theological beliefs formulated from sacred texts, but also as social structures and social forces offering belonging, as well as stability and order, to communities. Through rituals and activities of their clerical structures, religions maintain their networks and provide spiritual and physical support to their followers. For this reason, religion often demonstrates itself as the most basic form of civil society in most parts of the world, and emerges as one of the strongest form of mobilisation — cutting across ethnic, socio-economic class, and political differences.Read More »