Interfaith Coalition to Protect Religious Minorities in Arab Countries
By C. Naseer Ahmad
In an effort to stem violence and intolerance, a group of US Muslim and Christian Organizations have formed a coalition to protect religious minorities in Arab countries. Their goal is also to promote peaceful coexistence.
The All Dulles Area Muslims Society’s website stated: “On the evening of Wednesday, October 21, 2014 the ADAMS Center had the honor of hosting the visit of His Eminence Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna, Archbishop of Sebastia Orthodox Church Patriarchate of Jerusalem. While at the Center, H.E. Archbishop Theodosius met with leaders of the Muslim community, and with some of our Interfaith Peace Corp partners. After Isha, the last prayer of the day, His Eminence spoke to ADAMS community members presenting a message of Peace and fellowship.”
This interfaith coalition effort in late October 2014 was led by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation whose mission is to maintain and support the presence of Christians in the Holy Land.
Leaders of major Muslim and Christian organizations, religious leaders and activists met to form the coalition.
The coalition’s goal is to defend and protect indigenous Christians and other religious minorities in Arab countries. It aims to restore the historical coexistence of Muslim and Christians and preserving the presence of Christians and other religious groups as part of the fabric of Arab and Muslim civilization.
According to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical “the coalition will work with all concerned organizations and individuals around the world to challenge stereotypes of Arabs of all backgrounds and to show that Christians and Muslims are united in working toward the common goals of peace and justice.”
Two conferences are planned in the near future. The first conference is to be held in Washington in early 2015, followed by a second conference in an Arab country.
The coalition's leadership committee includes the Very Reverend Joseph Rahal, pastor of the St. George Orthodox Church, t he Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese; Syed Moktadir, President, ADAMS; Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director of the Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); Nihad Awad, National Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Bassel Korkor, Legal Officer, Syrian Christians for Peace; Haris Tarin, Director of the Washington, DC Office, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Salam Al Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); and Kamal Nawash, President, Free Muslims Coalition.
Sir Rateb Y. Rabie, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, was elected as Chair.
The coalition is reaching out to any organizations, leaders and religious institutions in pursuit of its mission.
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation website states that it “is very excited to be given the honor of leading the effort to have Christians and Muslims work for peace, justice and the common good.”
“Reach Out International and the Pakistani Christian communities around the world welcome and support this Muslim-Christian Coalition, and we shall support the work of this brand new organization in all its endeavors,” said Sam Mall, Founder and Executive Director, Reach Out International Inc. USA/Pakistan.
ADAMS was formed in 1983 by a small group of families in Herndon and Reston, Virginia to serve the local Muslim population. Over the past three decades, the ADAMS Center has become a hub of activity and has grown into one of the largest Muslim communities in the Washington DC area.
According to ADAMS officials, “Our greatest pride is in education, community and youth development, and service. We organize a variety of educational and social activities and gatherings that provide the children, youth, and families with wonderful opportunities to learn and grow as brothers and sisters in faith. The ADAMS Center also believes in interfaith collaboration and as a result, we host and participate in several interdenominational programs and activities throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area.”