JERUSALEM – On February 12, 2014, under the patronage of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and the CEMOFPSC (Center for Middle Eastern Studies for the Social Promotion of Culture) a conference on “Arab Spring” was held in Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, to which Bishop Shomali was invited.

A conference on the “Arab Spring” was organized at Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center this Wednesday, February 12, 2014. For the opening session, the organizers asked Bishop Shomali how he evaluates the Arab Spring.

The Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem spoke briefly, but with lucidity and clarity, of the relationships between the different movements of the popular unrest, and concern for democracy on the part of politicians. According to Bishop Shomali, “one cannot impose democracy. Democracy comes through education.” He also proposed a criterion to determine whether a democracy is genuine or illusory: “respect for minorities and the rights of women and children. We are speaking of more than half of society!”

As for minorities, Bishop Shomali said that few Christians in Arab countries, which have experienced these upheavals and revolutions, have actually participated in these movements, because “of fear”.

“Democracy must be prepared. Imposing democracy without preparation is like buying furniture before you build the house,” continued the auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem.

He concluded by insisting that the majority of Muslims are not fundamentalist. There are many moderate Muslims among them, and these are the ones that should be supported so that they come to power.

Mr. Juan José Escobar, Consul General of Spain in Jerusalem, was also present at this conference.


Firas Abedrabbo