Conference opened on Friday the 18th with the prayers and welcoming
remarks by H. E. Bishop Atallah Hanna, Fr. Dr. Fawzi Khoury and Dr. Geries S.
Khoury. The three speeches were centered on the challenges which are facing the
inhabitants of the Arab east in general and the Christians in particular. The
conference was attended by tens of leading personalities, educators, community
leaders and distinguished leaders from Galilee, and all West Bank Governorates.
Among the attendees was H. B. Patriarch Michael Sabbah, President of Al-Liqa’s
Board of Trustees, Bishop Maroun Lahham, Fr. Dr. Rafiq Khoury and other nuns and
priests. Fellow Muslim educators and community leaders attended this gathering
first lecture which was moderated by Mr. Saliba Al-Taweel was titled: “What
do we mean by Takfiri ideology”. Fr. Dr. Jamal Khader presented the lecture.
The lecture was followed by a coffee break and a program focusing on Christmas
second day, on Saturday the 19th and following breakfast, proceedings
of the conference began with prayers and meditation as well as personal
observations by Father Abdallah Julio Brunella.
first lecture of the day which was moderated by Mr. Zoughbi Zoughbi focused on
“Takfiri ideology in Christianity: Christian Zionism and the likes.” H.
E. Bishop Maroun Lahham lectured on this subject.
Following a coffee break, a lecture focusing on “Takfiri Ideology in Islam”
by Dr. Fawzi Barakat Al-Qasrawi was moderated by Ms. Makarem ‘Awad. A lunch
late afternoon proceedings continued with a panel titled “How do we face
together the Takfiri Ideology” by panelists Sheikh Zuheir Al-Dib’i who
presented an Islamic view while Dr. Geries S. Khoury presented a Christian view.
The panel was moderated by Mrs. Sima Ghawali. The last lecture of the second was
day by H. B. Patriarch Michael Sabbah on “The Risks of Takfiri
movements on Christian identity and on their options and presence.” Ms.
Attorney Ibtisam Mu’allem moderated the lecture.
Following dinner an entertaining evening took place comprised stories, popular
poetry and poems. Participants included Mrs. Nuha Qa’war, Mr. ‘Atallah Jaber and
Nagham Qa’war who read a Christmas poem by her late father and friend of
Al-Liqa’, Dr. Jamal Qa’war.
Following breakfast on the third day of the conference on Sunday 20th
December, proceedings began with prayers, meditation and Christmas carols by Ms.
Taghreed Qa’war. A panel followed titled “The role of the church in light of
challenges of the Takfiri ideology.” Panelists included Fr. Dr. Iyad Twal,
Dr. Munthir Ishaq and Dr. Johnny Mansour. Mrs. Sawsan Al-Shomali moderated the
Following a coffee break an open session was held titled “How can we immunize
ourselves and our societies from the Takfiri ideology.” This open session
was moderated by Mr. Yousef Matar.
should be noted that following each lecture and panel lively discussions and a
question and an answer session took place. There is no doubt that these enriched
extensively the proceedings of the conference.
Following the open session Dr. Geries S. Khoury summarized the proceedings of
the conference and thanked Al-Liqa’s Board of Trustees for its support and
thanked as well all journalists and international media which covered the
Khoury then read the final communique of the conference:
Conferees strongly protest
and condemn the continued Israeli occupation and aggression against Holy Places
in Palestine as well as the assassination of young people who resist occupation.
Conferees ask the international community to condemn Israeli occupation and to
work toward the realization of Palestinian quest for independence.
No person has the right
“to accuse others of unbelief” regardless of differences in dogma. For God alone
is the one who can identify and pass judgments on his creatures. He is the only
One who can judge others.
Conferees demand that
officials in religious schools supervise curricula and teaching methods in the
Shari’ah and theological schools in order to graduate mosque speakers and church
leaders who know and espouse the true dogmas, and in order that religion is not
exploited for an exclusive politics and discourse but for teaching the essence
of religion which calls for the service of man and the respect to his freedoms
Christian – Muslim
societies represented in the past the unity of the Palestinian people. Conferees
demand the formation of such societies in all Palestinian towns and cities in
order to proliferate a discourse which unites society and contributes toward
awareness in our society of Islam and Christianity.
The need to weaken the
Takfiri ideology through successful solutions including the re-examination of
educational curricula, religious discourse, religious freedom, democracy and
participation in public life.
Conferees reiterate their
strong belief in our Arab unity which is based on our unity of faith, Christians
and Muslims, in one God and one nation. And in order to be united in the face of
external storms for terrorist Takfiri ideology can be defeated by our unity.
Al-Liqa’s message and
Al-Liqa’s conferences, especially this one, revolve around the dangers of
Takfiri ideology on our Christian identity, our daily life, our homes, schools,
universities, social Medias, offices, factories, etc. The message of Al-Liqa’
and its conferences are open minded participating and calling for dignified
living. This way everyone is reforming oneself with the task to reform others.
Conferees are unanimous in
their total rejection of extremism which finds its fertile ground in the
explanation or exegesis and not in the Holy texts. It is wrong to keep
reiterating what the West and imperialism taught us such as “Islamic Terror,”
“Jewish Terror,” or “Christian Terror.” Religions do not call for terrorism or
violence. There are those who interpret things according to their own agenda and
call for terrorism under the disguise of religion.
Bethlehem, 20 December 2015