With the troubling situation in Jerusalem today, including the situation with the neighboring countries and the rise of the Islamic state, there is concern within our Jerusalemite community.The tension is rising, so Sabeel and YWCA-East Jerusalem organized a panel on November 20th as a way to assure our fellow friends in the community of the importance of living together as Christians and Muslims as we faceall of the challenges.
The panel highlightedthat we can handle such challengestoday. Moderating the session was Ms. HanadiSoudahYounan.Christian speaker Dr. Jeries Khoury,Director of Al-Liqa’Center, talked about Jerusalem’s importance for all three religions and how objective communication amongst us (Christians and Muslims) in a stable community is important in order to go through the challenges we live in today.He also gave an example connecting the importance of living together from the letters to the Corinthians:“If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor”(1Corinthians 12: 26).
Muslim speaker, Sheikh Mustafa Abu-Suay, spoke on the role of the religious models/men/clergy,in addition to mentioning the importance of the social web that still exists amongst us as Muslims and Christians.He said this connection remains despite the political situation and the policies that Israel uses to differentiate between Christians and Muslims, and despite Israel using the divide and conquer strategy (for example, giving permits for Christians during their holidays while Muslims rarely get them for their holidays).
Thirty-six people attended, including 2 Christianclergy (a priest from the Syrian Orthodox church in Jerusalem and another from the Melkite church in Ramallah). Also, there were 2 of our Sabeel co-founders and members of the Sabeel General Assembly,Mrs. Cedar Duaybis and Mrs. Samia Khoury.All were very intrigued in getting to know more and having a profound discussion.
Participants enjoyed coffee and warm tea on this cold, rainy evening,allowing them the opportunity to discuss further with the speakers and also amongst themselves.