US Church leaders support Jordan’s role in protecting holy sites for Christians and Muslims

By Daoud Kuttab/ milhilard.com

King Abdullah on Monday, May 9th warned against the continuous obstacles facing Christians in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem, adding that continued pressures could threaten their presence in the region.

A Jordanian diplomatic source in the US told Mijhilard.com that the King met in New York for about 90 minutes with 23 Christian leaders representing all Christian denominations in the US.

A royal court statement noted King Abdullah reaffirmed that Arab Christians are an integral part of the Middle East’s past and present, and are vital to its future, stressing the need to work collectively to safeguard the Christian presence in the region, according to a Royal Court statement. “His Majesty said some church properties in the occupied territories were confiscated by extremist organizations, while other properties face high taxation.

“The King reiterated that the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is an honor and a responsibility that helps preserve the unity of all churches, and — more importantly — unity among the Muslim and Christian communities, the statement said.

Kyle Cristofalo, Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations whose organization
“Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) helped in the bringing together of U.S. Christian leaders and His Majesty King Abdullah said he was honored to have made the event happen. He said that U.S. leaders affirmed the commitments of respective communities to work for interfaith harmony and justice for all who live in the Holy Land which helped organize the event said that U.S. leaders affirmed the commitment of respective communities to work for interfaith harmony and justice for all who live in the Holy Land.

US Church leaders meeting in New York with the King

Churches for Middle East Peace helped organise the meeting

Cristofalo told Milhilard.com that church leaders expressed gratitude for the role Jordan plays in the protection of holy sites for Christian and Muslims in Jerusalem and were deeply grieved by the ongoing assaults against the Status Quo. “The daily violations of human rights and religious freedom against Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land must stop. So too must the occupation. We look forward to continuing to work with His Majesty in the service of a future in which all Palestinians and Israelis are able to flourish,” he said.

Rev Dr. A Roy Medley General Secretary Emeritus, American Baptist Churches echoed a similar sentiment saying that the King was well received and thanked for Jordan’s historic role in seeking peace in the Middle East. “I expressed on behalf of Baptists our dismay when religion is weaponized to demean, divide, and destroy; stated our concern for the Christian community in the region and affirmed our commitment as Baptists to live in peace with our neighbors, noting the example of Baptists in Lebanon, who, though small in number, have been in the forefront of welcoming Syrian refugees who are predominantly Muslim, and the role of Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine.

Throughout the conversations, representatives spoke of the particular suffering of Arab and Palestinian Christians.

The King, in response to this round, spoke of his ongoing commitment to peace. This includes a desire to ensure that the Christian church is not rather diminished in the region and his diplomatic efforts to secure Jerusalem as open equally to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Medley noted that in response to his citing instances of sustained Christian-Muslim dialogue and action for the common good in various settings, King Abdullah “expressed great appreciation for these efforts and indicated his strong desire to support them. “

This was the first meeting of this group with King Abdullah Medley said. “The concern of the US churches for the churches of the region was affirmed time and again by the various representatives who were present. The status of Jerusalem was another issue that was strongly mentioned. And we pledged our support for diplomatic and other efforts to secure peace with justice in the region. We anticipate the possibility of future meetings to develop and deepen this initial conversation. “

According to Jordan embassy officials, the King meetings included 23 Christian leaders representing all major denominations in the US: Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Armenian, Greek Orthodox, Reformist Church, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, African American Church leaders, Quakers (Peace Church) and Adam Philips, USAID Director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Affiliates of some of the evangelical Churches that the King met have been seeking full recognition in Jordan.

The New York visit by the King of Christian leaders and the upcoming political visits to Washington are aimed at paving the way for the crucial discussions that Israeli officials have finally agreed to hold with Jordan regarding the need to reaffirm the status quo in Jerusalem regulating relations between the Israeli occupying powers with religious leaders, the faithful and visitors.

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.

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