• August 19, 2014

Fioretti from the East:
Gold amidst the Mud

Georg & Abud - Siria

by Sister Josette K.
Article pub­lished in the blog ‘Terre de Compassion’

In Iraq, Christians and Shiites are expelled or killed. In Palestine, there were over 1,900 deaths in only 30 days. At the heart of all these atroc­i­ties, as if hidden amidst the dirty and thick mud, there emerge some gold nuggets. Gold nuggets which - though not removing any­thing from the absur­dity of the Easter peo­ples’ suf­fering - con­sti­tute baby steps of com­mu­nion between Christians and Muslims. Gold nuggets which are tiny signs of hope.

• Interview of Iraqi jour­nalist Dalia Arydy by the Lebanese chain LBC TV:

Question: You decided to be in com­mu­nion with Christians in your country by wearing a cross around your neck; You, who are a Sunni Muslim Iraqi. Why are you taking this ini­tia­tive?

Dalia El Arydy: It’s an ini­tia­tive to fight against those who try to bury civ­i­liza­tion. It is not only a reli­gious ini­tia­tive, but also a civil and a cul­tural one. It is an enor­mous pain to realize that some want to “dye” Iraq with one single dye, with one only color. And as an Iraqi, regard­less of my reli­gious affil­i­a­tion, I refuse to belong to a single color. The cross was banned in Mosul, Christians were banned in Mosul. Our answer to such a ban is nothing more than wearing a cross on our neck as a way of telling all Iraqis: “We are all Christians.” We will con­tinue to do so until the return of every Christian to Mosul, and until the safety of every Christian in Iraq is assured.

• On July 27, the Lebanese daily “L’Orient le jour” pub­lished the tes­ti­mony of 500 refugees (Christians and Muslims) who are sharing the same church (San Porphyrius) in Palestine after the Israeli bomb­ings.

For Mahmoud Khalaf, a res­i­dent of Gaza, it is a more than unusual expe­ri­ence to pros­trate five times a day for Muslim prayers under the gaze of an icon of Christ and within a Palestinian church. But after the Israeli army began to bom­bard the city of Chaaf, he had no choice but to take refuge in the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius, in the neigh­bor­hood of the Old Gaza. “They allow us to pray. This changed the vision I had of Christians. Before, I did not really know them, but now they have become brothers,” explains the 27-year-old Palestinian Muslim. “Here, love between Christians and Muslims is indeed growing,” he tes­ti­fies.

Every day he turns towards the Mecca, the first holy place of Islam in Saudi Arabia, he recites verses of the Quran and pros­trates, as you would in a mosque. And the priests and parish­ioners of Saint Porphyrius are very atten­tive to their guests. “Chris­tians do not fast, but they care­fully avoid eating in front of us during the day. They do not smoke or drink when they are with us," Mahmoud noted.

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