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» 02/19/2010
LEBANON
Beirut, "national" Islamic-Christian holiday in the name of the Annunciation of Mary
by Fady Noun
The official decision could be reached during the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon, scheduled for tomorrow at the Vatican. It will have a more "national" than "religious" character and will be a symbol of unity among the citizens. The day of celebration marked by a common social, cultural and religious program.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The news has been widely reported in Lebanon, especially among Christians. Yet, one of its most vigorous promoters is a Muslim. Yesterday the Council of Ministers meeting chaired by Saad Hariri, has approved a decree that the feast of the Annunciation on March 25 is "a common Christian-Muslim national holiday," unprecedented in the annals of dialogue between the two religions .

The new festival, which will have a "national" rather than "religious" stamp, will be celebrated alongside that of the Annunciation, not replacing it. It should help to make the figure of the Virgin Mary, revered in Islam almost as much as in Christianity, a symbol of unity among the Lebanese, and further the image of Lebanon as a "Country symbol” of pluralism and tolerance, in agreement with the words Pope John Paul II.  

The feast will be a bank holiday and will also characterized by a common social, cultural and religious program that will highlight the cultural and religious aspects of Christians and Muslims. The final decision will be made Saturday, February 20, during the meeting that the Prime Minister of Lebanon has scheduled with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The premier could then make the announcement from the Vatican itself.

On 16 February a Muslim-Christian delegation including MM. Eddé Michel, a former minister and president of the Maronite foundation in the world, Ibrahim Chamseddine (Shia, son of Imam Mohammed Mehdi Chamseddine), former minister, and Mohammed Nokkari (Sunni) university professor and former Secretary General of Dar el-Fatwa, Lebanon's highest Sunni religious authority, presented the project to Prime Minister Hariri.  

According to members of the delegation, the Gospel and the Koran both say that Christ was born of Mary, who was still a virgin. It is a dogma of faith common to Christians and Muslims, even though the two religions then differ over the nature of Jesus who for Christians is divine in nature.

At the initiative of the Committee, for the past three years common celebrations have been held in Lebanon during the Feast of the Annunciation. They are held at the College of Our Lady of Jamhour and are guided by the Jesuits under the theme "Together around Our Lady Mary ", with the participation of foreign delegations, particularly that of Al-Azhar University, Egypt.  

In parallel, the project promoters have obtained from the chairman of the municipal council of Beirut, Abdel-Monhem Ariss, a small portion of land in the Museum square for the construction of a monument that reproduces the emblem of the party and is characterized by a stylized face of the Virgin Mary surrounded by a crescent moon, symbol of Islam.

 


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See also
03/24/2009 LEBANON
Islamic-Christian celebration to honour the Virgin Mary, symbol of national unity
09/12/2011 ISLAM
The Virgin Mary in Islam: Image and Devotion, a book by Msgr. Bressan
08/25/2010 LEBANON
Armed clashes between Hezbollah and Sunni factions. Three dead
08/15/2009 VATICAN
Assumption an occasion to ponder the full meaning of existence says Pope
03/25/2010 LEBANON
Lebanese Christians and Muslims celebrate the Annunciation together in the name of Mary

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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