by Daoud Kuttab*
In a moment of frustration because of the pressures on us regarding the work of our newly relaunched website maghtas.com, I decided to review some of my old writings.
Back in December 2004 in the fifth edition of the paper version of the magazine I wrote an article titled Is there room for Maghtas in our country? I detailed in that article the campaigns and opposition for the work we are doing that was coming from religious leaders and heads of churches.
Unfortunately, now after the passing of 18 years, we are still dealing with these difficulties and pressures as we have recently relaunched Maghtas online. The pressure has not stopped despite our success in telling the truth and avoiding religious and theological differences that divide the Christian family.
I am sad because an unofficial party that has lots of power has called on an official body and has supported complaints against Maghtas from unknown sources. These anonymous complaints led a regulatory body in Jordan to take steps to gag our voice calling for the truth in regards to the Christian community in Jordan.
The complaint and the intervention of the council and the government regulator have caused damage to our work but will not stop us from our mission of speaking truth to power and from defending the rights of ordinary Christians in Jordan, Palestine, and Israel by means of balanced and professional journalistic work.
Some say that our writings cause damage, and they might be partially correct and in a limited way. But speaking the truth and uncovering what is hidden was and will continue to be our role in Maghtas.com. Our calling and mission are best described by the biblical verse: “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
As to the issue of Christian unity, we have been leaders in the call for unity as demonstrated by our Christmas edition in which we queried leaders and laypersons in the Christian community about the importance of Christian unity in our beloved east. Anyone reading our site will see the diversity of our reports covering the activities and challenges facing all Christians. We have dealt with issues from ecclesiastical courts, to adoption to gender equality in inheritance, the role of youth, the need for serious dialogue, and coexistence in our society.
There is a desire by those in religious power to control the narrative of what is said in regards to the lives of Christians. They want media platforms like Maghtas.com to shower them with praise while hiding the facts of what is happening behind the scenes that is causing damage to the Christian community. We will not do that nor will we be quiet about corruption. We will continue to demand that our churches come clean by publishing their budgets and we will continue calls for equality between men and women in terms of inheritance rights and we will defend the weak and the disabled. We will not cover up on mistakes or even crimes that take place under the cover of the Christian work. We are not doing this alone. We have advisors from all the Christian denominations but we have avoided church leaders so as not to put them in a difficult position. Media is expected to reflect the opinions of the people and at times magnifying glass. The goal is not to defame or to slander but our goal is transparency with the hope that publication is a means of correcting what is wrong.
While we are seeking the truth in a professional manner as we check and double-check any fact we publish, we are humans just like the religious leaders are human. We might make mistakes and when we do we have the courage to admit our mistakes and address them honestly.
Our difficulties with the heads of the churches and government agencies will not deter us from our work. We hope that Maghtas.com readers and those who follow us will distribute what we publish on their social media accountants and will defend our work. Blocking us or restricting our work is aimed at you our readers and your right to know.
Eighteen years ago we asked the question of whether there is room in our country for the Maghtas publication. In 2004 we answered with a resounding yes. We have proved that a large sector of the Christian community in Jordan and Palestine as well as our advisory board has said that they wanted us to continue in our way. Now in February 2022, we are again asking the same question and we are hoping to hear from our readers in Jordan and Palestine the answer of whether they want maghtas.com to continue or not.
· *The writer is editor-in-chief of Maghtas.com and the chair of the board
The original article in Arabic can be seen here.
تكافح مجلة “ملح الأرض” من أجل الاستمرار في نشر تقارير تعرض أحوال المسيحيين العرب في الأردن وفلسطين ومناطق الجليل، ونحرص على تقديم مواضيع تزوّد قراءنا بمعلومات مفيدة لهم ، بالاعتماد على مصادر موثوقة، كما تركّز معظم اهتمامها على البحث عن التحديات التي تواجه المكون المسيحي في بلادنا، لنبقى كما نحن دائماً صوت مسيحي وطني حر يحترم رجال الدين وكنائسنا ولكن يرفض احتكار الحقيقة ويبحث عنها تماشيًا مع قول السيد المسيح و تعرفون الحق والحق يحرركم
من مبادئنا حرية التعبير للعلمانيين بصورة تكميلية لرأي الإكليروس الذي نحترمه. كما نؤيد بدون خجل الدعوة الكتابية للمساواة في أمور هامة مثل الإرث للمسيحيين وأهمية التوعية وتقديم النصح للمقبلين على الزواج وندعم العمل الاجتماعي ونشطاء المجتمع المدني المسيحيين و نحاول أن نسلط الضوء على قصص النجاح غير ناسيين من هم بحاجة للمساعدة الإنسانية والصحية والنفسية وغيرها.
والسبيل الوحيد للخروج من هذا الوضع هو بالتواصل والنقاش الحر، حول هويّاتنا وحول التغييرات التي نريدها في مجتمعاتنا، من أجل أن نفهم بشكل أفضل القوى التي تؤثّر في مجتمعاتنا،.
تستمر ملح الأرض في تشكيل مساحة افتراضية تُطرح فيها الأفكار بحرّية لتشكل ملاذاً مؤقتاً لنا بينما تبقى المساحات الحقيقية في ساحاتنا وشوارعنا بعيدة المنال.
كل مساهماتكم تُدفع لكتّابنا، وهم شباب وشابات يتحدّون المخاطر ليرووا قصصنا.