altHCEF is deeply concerned about the unceasing human suffering in Syria. Despite the divisiveness of the conflict, HCEF has found points of unity that are directly derived from our Christian beliefs, which can and should be the foundation for peace. The following appeal for Syria — focused on promoting peace, tolerance, and forgiveness — is particularly unique because it is signed by a diverse group of clergy and laity. If you would like to be added as a signatory, please email us at


We, the undersigned, stand with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation in voicing grave concern for the dire humanitarian crisis in Syria. As Christians,  we are called to be instruments of God’s peace. With open Christian hearts, we pray for all those who have been adversely impacted, for an immediate end to violence, and for reconciliation. We respectfully urge all stakeholders —  governmental and non-governmental — to take appropriate, principled, and decisive steps to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, including allowing humanitarian access to all parts of Syria to reach those in need, and strictly refraining from threatening, targeting, or harming aid workers or civilians in any way.

We believe that the following principles must underlie the path to peace in Syria:

* Agreeing on an immediate cease-fire during which humanitarian aid may be distributed, and stakeholders may resolve disputes around the negotiation table, not the battlefield.

* Embracing interfaith understandings and mutual respect — principles that were and must continue to be at the heart of Syrian society and culture.

* Approaching reconciliation with open hearts by loving our neighbors and our enemies, in faithful witness to the words of Jesus Christ, and with a willingness to forgive.

The Syrian humanitarian crisis is becoming increasingly dire as the conflict continues. Innocent civilians, religious and cultural sites, and Syria’s infrastructure will continue to be collateral damage unless peace is pursued immediately and unequivocally. As Christians, we believe Syria to be a sacred part of the Holy Land, and are gravely concerned for its inhabitants and holy sites. Reform can come in the absence of violence, and it must.

Therefore, let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with HUMAN SECURITY,and humiliation with DIGNITY.

Signatories as of 5/12/2014 include the following:

Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS, HCEF President/CEO, Bethesda, MD

H.B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, East Jerusalem

HE Bishop William H. Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine

HE Archbishop Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna, Archbishop of Sebaste, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Bishop Richard H. Graham, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran Church, Washington, DC

Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra, Eparchial Bishop of Newton, Melkite Church in the USA, West Roxbury, MA

Rev. Monsignor W. Ronald Jameson, KHS, Rector, St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Rev. William Joseph Turner, Ph.D., KCHS, Saint Mary Church, Chelsea, MI

Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, Moderator of the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA-2002-2003, Atlanta, GA

Very Rev. Joseph Rahal, Senior Representative of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Washington, DC

Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J., Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Human Development at Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Archpriest Father Nicholas Dahdal, Economos, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Chicago, IL

Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM Chair of the JPIC Directorate of Holy Name Province, Silver Spring, MD

Fr. George Shalhoub, The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of Saint Mary, Livonia, MI

Dr. James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute/Member of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Washington, DC

Dr. Hugh Dempsey, KM, Ob, KHS,Vice President for Development at Trinity Washington University, Washington, DC Rula Dababneh, Regional Director at CGAP, Chicago, IL

Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ

Dr. Hanna Hanania, Owner,Hanania Dental, Dale City, VA

Christine Hill Hobbi, Executive Vice President & Founder of Service Alliances, Scottsdale, AZ

Osama Kishek, Vice President, Kishek International, Inc. Costa Mesa, CA

Samer B. Korkor, Professor of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, Washington, DC

Dr. Bishara A. Bahbah, Adjunct Professor, Investment, Finance and Wealth Management, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem

Raja Khoury, President, Pillar Construction, Inc., Alexandria, VA

Warren David, President, Arab America, Washington, DC

Nawar Mansour, MD, President of Kidney Specialists, P.C., Memphis, TN

Ayman Abdel Nour, President, Syrian Christians for Peace, Washington, DC

Samir Abu-Absi, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Issam Daya, MD, OB/GYN, Baltimore, MD

Edmond Cabbabe, MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

Bassel Korkor, Esq.,Syrian Christians for Peace, Washington, DC

Khalil B. Korkor, MD, President/CEO, Gastroenterology of Canton, Canton, OH

John Tumeh, MD, Chief of Psychiatry, Tumeh Psychiatric Services, PLLC, Uniontown, PA