Director the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader has noted that the Christian presence in the Middle East contributes to fighting extremism and that the discourse of hatred reflects ignorance, because people hate what they ignore.
In a statement to Russian Sputnik News Agency, Fr. Bader said that “the Christian presence contributes to unveiling ignorance, misunderstanding, or prejudices.” He added, “On several occasions we talks about hate discourses, but I think it is the discourse of ignorance. I hate what I do not know, I do not know the Christians well so I said that it is not proper to wish the Christians well on holidays, but when I become aware that the Christians are credible, honest and trustworthy, I brush aside the feelings of hatred towards them.”
Fr. Bader continued, “I do not think that the Muslim citizens who deal on daily bases with Christians resort to hate discourse as has been the case in media and social networking sites.” Furthermore, Fr. Bader asserted that “the presence of Christians in the region indicates the goodness of Islam and Christianity as well as reflects the acceptance of one another.” Fr. Bader stressed that “religious teachings in society are very important, especially in schools, because we are educating the young generations to have profound understanding and comprehension.”
According to observers, a close view of the Jordanian governorates indicates that Muslims in Jordanian governorates which includes a Christian presence are free from extremist ideas, and are more inclined to demonstrate tolerance. Commenting on this observation, the CCSM director stated that “there is no doubt that the common living openness avenues to openness which I felt.”
In his context, Fr. Bader referred to the Amman Message indicating that “it became well-known throughout the world as it tells the world what the true Islam is, and that it is far from extremism. The Amman Message, launched in 2004, was in response to attempts to accuse Islam and Muslims of terrorism following the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington in 2001.”
Fr. Bader continued saying, “The Amman message aimed to shed light on the fact that there is a controversy about Islam and Muslims.” He pointed out that “the first goal sought by His Majesty King Abdullah II and by the Jordanian state seeks to exonerate religion of the terrorism accusation. The second goal is to preserve Arab Christianity or rather Eastern Christianity.”