MABDA Report 8/9/2013

King calls on church leaders to help end sectarian strife

In an address to a gathering of Western and Arab church leaders in Amman, King Abdullah urged clergymen to play a greater role in curbing extremism and sectarian tensions that have emerged across the region.

The meeting came as Christian and Muslim religious leaders on Tuesday started a conference on challenges facing Arab Christians, which was opened by HRH Prince Ghazi, King’s chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs and personal envoy, deputising for the King.

Jordan’s King Abdullah Invokes ‘Duty’ to Protect Mideast Christians

Jordan’s King Abdullah, speaking at a two-day conference on the plight of Middle East Christians, declared that it is a Muslim’s “duty” to protect Christians.

The two-day conference in Amman on “The Challenges Facing Arab Christians” brought together more than 70 high-ranking representatives of Middle Eastern churches. The conference was organized by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, Chief Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs, who has a long history of interfaith work.

Sunni-Shia relations the key to regional stability

Today, it’s undeniable that the Middle East is seeing a period of rising sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi’as, especially in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. On 20 August, King Abdullah II of Jordan addressed Sunni and Shi’a religious leaders at a Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought conference, speaking about the "danger of manipulating religion for political purposes and sowing the seeds of hateful ethnic and intra-religious sectarian division."

Historically, the region has not suffered from the gross religious and denominational intolerance that was seen in Europe between Catholics and Protestants, especially in the 1500s and 1600s. In Europe, the way out was the series of peace treaties that comprised the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, referred to by some contemporaries as the "Peace of Exhaustion".

California Pastor Fights Islamophobia

Searching for years for the truth about Islam, a California Presbyterian pastor has been on a mission to debunk stereotypes about Islam, fighting Islamophobia and false fiction about Muslims.

"Islamophobia is out there and it comes as a result of our fear, the fear of Muslims and Islam, which has been with us a long time," Pastor Ben Daniel of San Jose's Foothill Presbyterian Church told San Jose Mercury News.

Vatican to Investigate Ritual Slaughter Ban

Following a meeting with world Jewish leaders, Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into the recent ban on ritual slaughter in Poland, receiving complaints about its huge effects on the country’s Muslim and Jewish minorities.

“The pope specifically expressed concern about the bans on kosher slaughter in Poland,” the World Jewish Congress said after the meeting.