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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

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VATICAN
"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
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Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

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