New calls from Lebanon for interfaith dialogue
Posted by worriedlebanese on 13/11/2006
Yesterday, we heard two calls for interfaith dialogue, one from the Armenian Patriarch who is organising an interfaith conference, and one from Shiite top cleric, Abdel Amir Qabalan.I couldn’t find much information on the interfaith conference. It’s pompously titled “Middle Eastern and Asian interfaith dialogue” But I couldn’t get much information on what was actually discussed. It seemed that it was a Muslim Christian encounter like so many others Lebanon has become accustomed to. Clerics meet, exchange good words on how peaceful and harmonious religions are and go back home. They meticulously avoid any contentious subject. And condemn violent out spurts without a glimpse of self-criticism or responsibility in the dynamics of a conflict; anything negative is blamed on an exterior party. Like all these interfaith meetings in the Middle East, there is never any mention or participation of the Jewish faith. And from what information I gathered about this ‘event’, there was no exception. Isn’t Judaism one of the Middle-Eastern and Asian faiths? Is it normal that the only contact the Lebanese have had with Jewish religious authorities was when the Hezbollah invited anti-Israeli Hassidic Clerics a couple of years ago? The most irritating fact is that both the Armenian Catholicos and the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch have ties wish Jewish clerics. The latter had lived in Israel for many years, and I think that the former has too (but I’m not sure about it).As for the Shiite cleric’s declaration, his declaration was kind of ecumenical not religiously, but politically. Qabalan who asked the Prime Minister not to accept the Shiite minister’s resignation met with Druze top cleric (‘appointed’ by Jumblatt). He announced that he would be convening with the other Muslim clerics. He said it was a first step towards calming people down.