Fr. Bader: Christian Arabs are an inherent part of their societies

Fr. Bader: Christian Arabs are an inherent part of their societies

Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Rif'at Bader has said that Christian Arabs are an inherent and authentic part of their Arab societies and that they have contributed to the development of societies throughout the years in the cultural, intellectual and political fields.

In a lecture he delivered at the Jordanian Society for Science and Culture in Amman on Monday, April 30, he added that the Christian Arab history is long. It started with the birth of the Christian religion, where the Arabs were among the first peoples who preached the Gospel to the farthest sides of Earth since the Pentecostal period.

In the lecture titled "Christian Arabs: Between the Declining Numbers and the Optimism about Existence", Fr. Bader talked about Christian Arab history before and after Islam, indicating that the Christians have always interacted with their communities as well as built firm bridges of communication and cooperation. He continued that the advent of Islam did not impede their path of creativity and progress, especially in their intellectual and cultural areas.

After addressing the Christian heritage in the Arab countries, with particular reference to Jordan and Palestine, he talked about the "Christian Arab heritage" discovered by German Orientalist Georg Graf who was highlighted by several Arab scholars, including Jesuit Fr. Samir Khalil. He added that the heritage, which flourished between the 8th and 14th centuries, needs more efforts in the direction of studying it, publishing it, and circulating it to the Arab universities.

On the declining numbers of Christian Arabs, Fr. Bader said that the statistics indicate that the percentage of Christian Arab presence in Arab countries has declined based on the waves of migration to the West. Noting that this is also attributed to the forcible displacement caused by intolerance and terrorist movements, especially in previous years, he continued that the decline in numbers does not adversely affect the optimism and determination of Christian Arabs to continue their presence, their positive influence, as well as their positive interaction with their societies and in the service of such societies despite the ignorance and terrorism that stands in their way and distorts their societies.

Fr. Rif'at Bader concluded his lecture by focusing on the "unique Jordanian situation of common living." He said that Jordan is a model country that has launched several global initiatives and has always been a model to be emulated in the Arab and world countries. Noting that this is attributed to the wise Hashemite leadership that treated people all the time with equity, he praised the unstinting efforts exerted by His Majesty King Abdullah II to preserve the Christian Arab identity in the Arab countries, especially in noble Jerusalem, in his capacity as the legitimate and historic custodian of its Islamic and Christian holy places. He also praised Jordanians' awareness of their duty to confront whatever would tear apart the social fabric and national unity which is very dear.

Dr. Ghida Abu Rumman said prior to the lecture, in the presence of Deputy Director of the Jordanian Society for Science and Culture Dr. Suleiman Bdour: "Arab Christianity is not a sectarian matter that concerns only the Christians and excludes the Muslims. It is a historic message and a spiritual wealth to those who belong to the Arab civilization. This is mostly accentuated by the fact that since "the Islamic conquests" the Christians have become influenced by the values and customs of the Arabs, or rather they became part and parcel of the Islamic civilization where the Arabic language became the basic means of expression or rather the mother tongue of Christian Arabs.

At the end of the lecture, an open discussion ensued relevant to the basic role played by Christian Arabs in partnership with their brethren in civilization, fate, and history.

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