Palestinian Clergy Shows Solidarity with Muslim Brethren in Qatar
Palestinian church leaders said Monday they attended the Islamic summit in Qatar to show solidarity with Palestinian Muslims and highlight the multifaith diversity of the disputed city of Jerusalem.
"Our presence is a sign of solidarity and unity of the Palestinian people who want, through different Christian and Muslim groups, to realize their rights to sovereignty and an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital," said Jerusalem's Catholic Bishop Lotfi Laham.
"We also want to show that Jerusalem is Arab and highlight the unique character of the Holy City that belongs not just to the Christians, Muslims and Jews living there but the whole world," he said.
Laham was accompanied at the summit by Riah Abu Assal of the Anglican church, Samir M'Rad of the Syrian Orthodox church and Atallah Hanna Rashmawi of the Greek Orthodox church.
"We are attending the ninth Islamic summit as an integral part of the Palestinian delegation, which represents the pluralism of Palestinian society and the Holy Land," Laham said on the sidelines of 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit.
The bishop said the Christian delegation represented "all the Christian churches of the Holy Land" and their presence at the summit was "a message from Jerusalem, city of peace."
Their presence in an Islamic summit is rare. "In Christian summits, there's no Muslim presence, but the Islamic summit has invited Christians to take part not as observers but as participants," Laham said.
Rashmawi said: "We want the unity of Christians and Muslims for the defense of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian identity against the attempts by Israel to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish city" -- DOHA (AFP)
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