Join in Solidarity With Those in Need
Our Call to Action
Muslims, Christians, and indigenous religious minorities are an integral part of the Arab world. Even before the dawn of Christianity or Islam, Arabs shared a common culture and civilization. Most Middle Eastern Christians have been raised in the Arab culture– profoundly influenced by Islam. And Arabs became some of the very first followers of Jesus Christ! As a non-militarized and non-partisan civilian community, these Christians pose no threat to any community or government. They also stand with tolerant Muslims—who make up the vast majority in the Middle East—against discrimination, persecution, and violence. As such, Arab Christians living in the Middle East are vital for peace with justice. Arab and Middle-Eastern Christians are also a vital bridge for positive East-West relations. Arab Christians have been heavily active for years in building interfaith tolerance by challenging western stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and by educating western Christians about the real Islam, distinguishing faithful people of good will from extremists.
Arab and Middle Eastern Christian citizens within Arab Countries have historically had a peaceful coexistence with their Muslim neighbors and countrymen. Arabs, regardless of their faith, share a common culture and civilization built on a rich blend of Muslim and Christian practices. Additionally, it is recognized that the two Abrahamic faiths are compatible, that they are based on similar foundations of respecting human dignity and caring for one’s neighbors. One example of this true compatibility is the interfaith community of Palestine where Christians and Muslims exist in solidarity, aiding and protecting one another despite differences in creed.
Most recently, a variety of political factors have broken this coexistence in various regions of the Middle East resulting in persecution and expulsion of Christian citizens, most particularly in Iraq, Egypt and Syria. Masked as religious doctrine, these politically-driven violations are carried out by extremists in the name of Islam.
Collectively, we recognize that the persecution of Christian citizens, unimaginable in the acts themselves, also violates our faith communities and even our Creator. This coalition is our expression of solidarity and commitment to the Common Good. In alarm and deep concern for Arab Christians & other religious minorities under attack, and with a clear understanding that peace, justice and freedom are only possible in a culture of coexistence, we pledge to remain united in addressing the challenge of this new extremism
and to restore the communal relationship of co-existence among neighbors.
We extend an open invitation to all people of goodwill to join us in this call to action.
As Muslim and Christian leaders, churches, mosques, Islamic centers, and organizations, along with other community members, we commit to putting our faith into action to protect Christians and other religious minorities in the Arab world and to further coexistence and peace.
Sir. Rateb Rabie, KCHS
Coalition Chair, President and CEO, Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)
Coalition Vice Chair,
President, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
His Excellency Bishop Barry C. Knestout
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington
Dr. Sayyid Syeed
National Director of the Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Very Rev. Isaac Crow
Pastor Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church
Imam Mohamed Magid
All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Reverend Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Development, Georgetown University, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs
President, The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Reverend Hovsep Karapetyan
Pastor, St Mary’s Armenian Church
Rev. Charles Cortinovis
Executive Director, Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious
Affairs for the Archdiocese of Washington
Dr. Ramsay F. Dass, MD
President, American Middle East Christains Congress
Dr. Hanna Hanania, D.D.S.
Board of Directors, HCEF
We recognize that both the current conflict and potential for future suffering can only be addressed through more systemic and long-term efforts. Therefore, to achieve our mission of alleviating the suffering that past persecutions, loss of life, and expulsion have had on Arab and Middle Eastern Christians, we set the following goals:
Reclaiming the legitimate Muslim voice to defend Christians – Muslims within this coalition recognize that our name and voice are being used to perpetuate these persecutions. We feel an even stronger call to action than our Christian brethren to remain steadfast in challenging extremist activities in our name to persecute our Arab and Middle Eastern Christian brothers and sisters.
Providing and Sharing Models of Hope – Despite the tragic repercussions of extremists, there are beacons of hope with communities (e.g., Muslims helping persecuted Christians, the Palestinian Christian/Muslim solidarity model) in existence. By providing a spotlight on these models, we hope to embolden and encourage others to replicate these efforts and help existing efforts gain valuable resources (both financial and human) to expand their good works.
Developing Grassroots (People to People) Relationships – Both Christian and Muslim leaders recognize that “the Church” and “the Umma” are not buildings or ideas. They are people. It is not merely enough for religious scholars and leaders to make statements but rather we commit ourselves to create opportunities for the treasures of our faith, all worshippers, to have mechanisms to also become actively engaged in this campaign in the form of grassroots movements.
Providing Financial/Material Relief – The loss that persecuted Arab Christians have endured is catastrophic. We are committed to providing financial and material support to individuals and communities that have lost their homes or loved ones (e.g., breadwinners) and now need basic needs fulfilled as a result of their persecution.
Ensuring Resiliency – While the persecution of Christian citizens is a crisis event in a number of regions, once the crisis is addressed, it will be important to further coexistence by planting the seeds of peace within the youth to ensure that this never happens again.
Amplifying the Voice of Victims – Those that have survived persecution need to share their stories for so many reasons. To deal with their grief, inform the West and motivate people of goodwill to become more engaged in resolving the current crisis.
Honoring our Creator – We must never forget that both of our Faiths are centered on our Creator. We commit to keeping His Will in all our actions knowing that doing so is the best witness to His Mercy and Grace and in itself will serve as the differentiation from those that have hijacked His Name against the Common Good.
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The MCC is an Initiative by
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation