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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 08/16/2010
LEBANON
Offensive to Christians, Jesus series broadcast on Shia networks for Ramadan is cancelled
by Fady Noun
Shia-controlled Al-Manar and NBN networks pull Iranian series based on an apocryphal story about Jesus in which Judas dies in his place. The golden rule of dialogue triumphs over misunderstandings. The controversy is likened to the Muhammad caricature.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – There is no freedom without respect for others. The West does not know this, claiming instead that the right to free expression is absolute and that it can be exercised without controls. By contrast, Lebanon provides an example of the former. Al-Manar TV and NBN are Shia-oriented networks.  Last Thursday, they stopped broadcasting a 17-episode series on the life of Jesus for the month of Ramadan, based on the gospel of Barnabas, a text considered apocryphal by scholars. According to the text, the Apostle Judas took Jesus’ place and died on the Cross.

It was a good decision according to Lebanon’s Information Minister Tarek Mitri because “it showed once again that Lebanon is in the forefront of interfaith dialogue,” that it “respected the golden rule of dialogue, namely speaking about others in ways that they can recognise themselves.” In his view, the decision is “ground breaking and shall serve as a model in other situations”.

Church authorities and Christians in general were upset when the series’ first two episodes were shown on 11 and 12 August. After viewing them, the Catholic Information Centre (CIC), on behalf of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, called for a stop to the series in order that some scenes deemed offensive to the Christian faith removed. However, “Soon, it was realised that there was too much to” cut, Mitri said.

Tensions between the authorities and the population lasted only 24 hours. Around 2 pm on Friday, during a hectic press conference held at the CIC headquarters, the Information minister announced with pride that both networks had decided of their own free will to drop the series.

Top officials at the two networks took the decision “so as not to offend the Christian faith or hurt the religious feelings of Christians.”

Mgr Bechara Rahi, Maronite archbishop of Jbeil and president of the Bishops’ Commission on Social Communications, and other Church leaders, stood with Mitri when the latter described the decision “as going beyond politics” or “a power relationship where there is a winner and a loser”. For him, it transcends a purely legal solution since the General Security Office could have banned the series.

When Western media published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims the world over demanded public apologies. In this case, journalists asked Tarek Mitri if the insult warranted reparations and excuses. His response was to say that the series’ withdrawal “is more eloquent than a thousand apologies.”

“It is a victory for Lebanon, for its cultural and religious originality,” Mitri explained, adding that he appreciated the networks’ decision to bear the financial burden caused by breaking the contract to broadcast the series.

For his part, Maronite archbishop of Jbeil simply said, “Truth triumphed”.


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See also
10/14/2011 MIDDLE EAST – ISLAM
The role of Christians and minorities in the Arab world’s future
by Tarek Mitri
03/21/2008 PAKISTAN
Christians and Muslims together against violence in Faisalabad
by Qaiser Felix
02/13/2008 LEBANON
Clashes between opposing factions ahead of pro-government rally
02/15/2008 PAKISTAN
Bishops: 'no' to the cartoons on Muhammad; it's a mistake to republish them
by Qaiser Felix
02/03/2006 ISLAM
Muhammad cartoons provoke attacks and bombs

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”
ASIA
Easter: The silence of the innocent and the gag
by Bernardo CervelleraViolations of religious freedom and the West's hypocricy surrounding this issue are likely to drag the world into an unprecedented chaos. But even in silence - of death accepted for love or death inflicted by power - God is at work. An indestructible hope rises on Easter morning and a small opening of the heart is just enough for it to invade a lifetime. Happy Easter.
IRAN
Time for a deal with Tehran, a reliable partner against the Islamic State group
by Bernardo Cervellera A framework agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has to be inked by 31 March. US Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fiercely opposed to it for ulterior motives. Hassan Rouhani wants Iran to come back into the international fold. Tehran is playing a mediating role in the Middle East. For Vatican nuncio, “there is no evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear bomb.”

Dossier

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