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    » 04/24/2013, 00.00

    HOLY LAND

    Interfaith treaty, a turning point in Christian-Muslim relations, says Jerusalem bishop



    The agreement was reached to ease tensions between the Christian community in Bethphage and the Muslims in East Jerusalem. Trustees of the Treaty will be Mgr Shomali, for the Latin Patriarchate, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the governor of East Jerusalem. Prelate tells AsiaNews that this kind of deal "can be exported [. . .] throughout the Middle East."

    Bethphage (AsiaNews) - Muslim and Christian leaders as well as civil authorities in Jerusalem have signed a treaty of friendship to nip in the bud disputes between communities of different faiths and thus avoid sectarian clashes. The first example of this kind of "local" diplomacy was achieved in Bethphage (East Jerusalem) on Monday, with the involvement of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, representatives of the Latin Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Arab Governatorate of East Jerusalem as well as important political and moral figures. Leaders were pushed to seek such an agreement after sectarian clashes broke out in recent months, in the wake of the establishment of a Christian subdivision in a Muslim area in East Jerusalem.

    Interviewed by AsiaNews, Mgr William Shomali, auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem and one of the signatories of the agreement, said that the latter "marks a turning point in relations between Christians and Muslims . . . and can be exported not only to other areas of the Holy Land, but throughout the Middle East."

    "A treaty of this kind," he explained, "guaranteed by various local and national religious leaders, could be very useful in Egypt, where disputes between families turn into local as well as national clashes, with serious repercussions for interfaith dialogue. "

    In addition to Mgr Shomali, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Hussein, East Jerusalem Governor Adnan Husseini, and Fr Ibrahim Faltas, treasurer of the Custody of the Holy Land, signed the accord.

    The signatories represent 63 Christian families living in the Bethphage subdivision, built by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, and delegates from the Muslim community.

    Religious and political leaders are tasked with ensuring the implementation of the treaty, whose clauses range from mutual respect to conciliation in disputes over land and the construction of new housing.

    More than a hundred people took part in the ceremony, which was held at the Mount of Olives Club. (S.C.)

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    See also

    31/10/2009 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Israel restricts visas for priests and religious in the Holy Land
    Two African priests denied visas, the priests from Europe reduced to a one year visa. Church authorities are worried (for now) afraid to raise their voice for fear of the consequences. The cause for restrictions: the fundamentalism of the Shas party. The Fundamental Agreement of '93 establishes freedom of the Church in being able to "deploy" its staff in the land of Christ. At risk the universal and international character of the Church. A new "visas crisis”is about to break out.

    09/10/2006 HOLY LAND
    Christian religious leaders release statement on the status of Jerusalem
    The heads of local Christian Churches point out that unilateral actions used so far have brought neither peace to the holy city nor a normal life to its residents. They call for a committee to look into the city's future status, which must be guaranteed by the international community.

    26/03/2013 HOLY LAND
    Jerusalem, 35 thousand pray for peace in the Holy Land
    Thousands from all over the world in procession from the Mount of Olives to the Old City of Jerusalem. For the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Palm Sunday is the rejection of all violence. Number of pilgrims doubled compared to 2012.

    16/01/2009 HOLY LAND
    Archbishop Twal: war continues, and no one has courage for peace
    The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem tells AsiaNews: "We are all responsible." More than a billion dollars will be required for reconstruction, but the real problem is that of healing "the wounds that the war has opened in the hearts of the people." In the face of death and destruction, it is not possible to think of "advancing from one process to another, never leading to peace."

    17/01/2006 HOLY LAND
    US and European bishops visit the Holy Land to show support to local Christians
    The visit is a good signal that the bishops are close to local Christians, says Father Bouwen who has been a missionary in Israel since 1969. It might also bring economic aid to local Catholic schools and parishes.



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