Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Saturday, 3 February 2024
CCSM marks Harmony Week, Int'l Day of Human Fraternity, anniversary of Amman Message

Munir Bayouk/ :

On Saturday, February 3, 2024 the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM )in Jordan, in partnership with Caritas Jordan, held a symposium titled, “The Role of Interreligious Harmony in the Attainment of Peace Among Countries" marking the World Interfaith Harmony Week, the International Day of Human Fraternity, and the 20th anniversary of the Amman Message.


The symposium, held at Karam Imseeh Hall, next to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Tla' Al-Ali, was attended by UAE Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan His Excellency Sheikh Khalifa Ibn Mohammed Ibn Khalid Ibn Sultan Al Nahyan, Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, and Deputy Ambassador of the State of Bahrain Mr. Hussein Al Mahmoud, members of Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, Islamic and Christian clerics, representatives of the Ministry of Awqaf and the Ifta' Department, the Chief Islamic Justice, the Council of heads of Churches, as well as intellectual, cultural, media, and youth personnel in the Kingdom.


At the opening session of the symposium, which was moderated by journalist Rana Khamaiseh, the Royal anthem was played, after which Fr. Archimandrite Nader Sawouk recited verses from the Holy Bible, and Sheikh Abdullah Jaber recited verses from the Holy Qur’an.


In a welcoming address, CCSM Director Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader said that the symposium, which marks three noble dialogue occasions, takes place as we experience one of the most difficult moments that our Arab and humanitarian nation is going through, namely the aggression that we are witnessing these days against Gaza, and against Palestine in general. He pointed out that this gathering reaffirms that religions call for peace, love, encounter, harmony, justice and equality, which they cannot in any way be embroiled in conflicts, wars, violence, terrorism, killing and forcible displacement.


Fr. Bader pleaded with the Almighty God  for Jordan to remain an oasis of security and stability, a refuge for every person who needs medicine, as well as an address of encouragement and enhancement of human dignity. He also pleaded for the attainment of a cease-fire in Gaza and referred to all the efforts exerted by leaders of good intentions, foremost of whom is His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, who is leading the diplomacy of calling for a cease-fire and for providing humanitarian aid to the afflicted Palestinian people.


Fr. Bader conveyed well wishes to His Majesty King Abdullah on the 25th anniversary of his ascension to the throne of Jordan. He said, "We thank God for a quarter of a century of continuous benevolence, especially in the fields of encounter and harmony,. Common Word Between Us and You in 2007), World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2010, and Jordan’s welcoming of displaced people from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain by ISIS gang 10 years ago.


Fr. Bader pointed out that in this year we mark the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Holy See that are always described as extended relations of cooperation, affection, and friendship. The congruence between the two diplomacies is firmly present these days and embodied in the call for peace and ending the war in Palestine.


At the end of his address, Father Bader hailed two initiatives which demonstrate that the values of justice and peace do not end at religious differences, the first of which was the plane that transported wounded children from Gaza to the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital” which is affiliated with the Vatican in  Rome, and the second one is  the late Suha Al-Qussous’ donation of her organs, to a number of people with the approval of her children after her brain death, as  all of whom were also Muslims.


For His part, UAE Ambassador Sheikh Khalifa Ibn Mohammed Ibn Khalid Al Nahyan addressed the attendees in which he referred to the efforts exerted by the UAE, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Ibn Zayed Al Nahyan, in entrenching the values of love, tolerance and harmony among religions at all national, regional and international levels including launching the Document on "Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi.


He also referred to the establishment of the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence with the aim of building bridges of understanding and peaceful common living among the followers of religions, to launching the Year of Tolerance in 2019, and to enhancing the legal system that preserves religious freedoms.


He stressed that these initiatives stem from the UAE’s firm values in continuing to work to achieve peace among peoples, as well as to reject violence, extremism and hatred, and to incorporate the language of dialogue, reason, diplomacy, and peaceful coexistence in societies. He praised the pioneering Jordanian model of common living, and harmony among all components of society.


On the other hand, Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso said that peace, before being a case that incorporates the entire society, is a gift that characterizes the personal relationships and which a person carries within oneself in order to share with others. He said, "We need people of peace to be able to talk about peace among nations and states, rather than arouse tension, conflict, and war. He stressed that even in the context of the war we are experiencing beyond the River Jordan, this country seeks peace because it is guided by a man of peace, namely King Abdullah is a man of peace.


His Eminence the Apostolic Nuncio stressed that  during the last decades, the Popes of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, in general, affirmed their committed to promoting peace at all levels, and continued that Pope Francis has repeatedly emphasized the path of dialogue as being the only way towards lasting peace in this region, a peace that we are in great need of.  He said, "Violence only generates violence, and the fruit of death is death.


Former Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Hayil Al-Daoud, stressed in his address that there is no disagreement among religions because their source is one namey from the Almighty God, yet the problem lies in the followers of religions who did not understand their religions or rather distorted them, and began to fight among themselves in a contradictory position to what their religions call for. He said, "Religions inspired from the Almighty God cannot call for the shedding of people’s blood but rather instruct the preservation of human's sacred life because it is from God, and all human beings are children of the Almighty God."


He thanked the CCSM and Caritas Jordan for organizing this symposim to mark the World Interfaith Harmony Week and to assert that Jordan always moves hand-in-hand with harmony, love, tolerance, and gratitude, as there is no difference between all components of the Jordanian people. He also greeted the UAE, which established a special ministry for tolerance, as this is a pioneering idea to confirm that we, as Arabs and Muslims, are open to the entire world with all its religions and sects, and always seek peace with peoples.


 A film prepared by the CCSM was screened reflecting the two sisterly values, namely harmony and peace. Another film was also screened about the activities of the Caritas Jordan.


In the second session, which was moderated by journalist Nisreen Abu Salha, Sheikh Dr. Rabi' Al-Aidi noted that the issue of harmony among followers of religions is based on the fact that human dignity emanates from innate human beings and the belief in diversity. Touching on the circumstances from which the “Amman Message” was launched--including the prevalent hijacking of religious discourse and the spread of extremist thought--he said that this initiative was able to promote moderate discourse and strengthen the values of harmony among people.


As for former MP and journalist Mr. Nabil Ghishan, he pointed out that what is happening in Palestine is a colonial war marked by the elimination of the others, including killing and forcible displacement, rather than a religious conflict despite the attempts of some parties to employ religion in the conflict. He pointed out that had the world listened to the calls of His Majesty the King over the years for the need to resort to the two-state solution, then the region would not have entered into a spiral of war, violence and bloodshed. He stressed that military solutions will not solve the crisis, whereby the solution is incorporated in the recognition of human rights, including the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state.


While the specialist in political science and specialized in American affairs, Dr. Taghreed Odeh, touched in her intervention on the role of the religious factor in American policy-making, at home and abroad, especially with regards to the Palestinian issue. She noted that the world of today is unfortunately divided between the theory of the clash of civilizations or the theory of the civilizations' inter-communication and inter-cooperation. She called for the need for having cultural institutions create intellectual initiatives capable of confronting all ideas that call for extremism and the exclusion of the other, as well as highlighting the common human denominators that unite followers of religions.


Later, a discussion ensued between the attendees and speakers about ways to enhance the values of love, mutual respect and harmony in our Arab societies.