Tag Archives: Human Rights

Evangelical-Muslim Dialogue at Fuller

In April, Fuller Theological Seminary hosted the third Evangelical Christian-Muslim Conference. The theme was “A Common Word between us and you“. The conference brought together evangelical and Muslim scholars from many educational institutions, mission agencies and countries to enhance the work of justice and peace.

Among the evangelicals present were: Donald Wagner, Leith Anderson, Gary Burge, Len Rogers, Colin Chapman, Dudley Woodbury, and Martin Accad. Muslim leaders include: Mahmoud Ayoub, Assad Busool, Asma Afsaruddin, Muhammad Sammak, Jamal Badawi, Sayid Sayeed, Abed Ismail.

Several present were signators of the Common Word declaration and the Christian Response initiaited by Yale. The two previous conferences in Chicago (November 2006) and Tripoli (January 2008) were formative and educational meetings with important friendships gained and fruitful dialogue exchanged. Sponsors include North Park University in Chicago, Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and the World Islamic Call Society of Tripoli.

You can now view the photo album here.

During the conference I delivered a paper entitled “Christian Minorities living under Muslim rule

You can view the paper here:

Christian Minorities Living Under Islamic Rule from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem on the current devastating situation in Gaza


Photograph: Adel Hana/AP

We, the Patriarchs, Bishops and the Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, follow with deep concern, regret, and shock the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent destruction, murder and bloodshed, especially at a time when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King of love and peace. As we express our deep sorrow at the renewed cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued absence of peace in our Holy Land, we denounce the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and all forms of violence and killings from all parties. We believe that the continuation of this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility – and thus continued confrontation between the two peoples.

Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means.

We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.

To the various Palestinian factions we say: It is time to end your division and settle your differences. We call on all factions at this particular time to put the interests of the Palestinian people above personal and factional interests and to move immediately toward national comprehensive reconciliation and use all non-violent means to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

Finally, we raise our prayers to the Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and true peace.

We call on all to observe next Sunday, January 4, as a day for justice and peace in the land of peace.

+ Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Patriarch Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarchate.
+ Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate.
Fr. Pier Battista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custody of the Holy Land
+ Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Abune Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate.
+ Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East.
+ Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land.
+ Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
+ Bishop Youssef Zre’i, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.
Fr. Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

Read John McArthy If it were your home, what hope restraint? and Ilan Pappe Israel’s Righteous Fury and its Victims in Gaza

The Narrow Gate of Justice: Sabeel Statement
Pirates of the Mediterranean: Gaza Update
Photos of Gaza

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Iranian Judicial Authorities Order the Release of Ramtin Soodmand

According to news received by FCNN, the judicial authorities have ordered the release of our brother Ramtin Soodmand.

In this report received, Ramtin’s lawyer, who had been in telephone contact with the judicial court of Mashhad and the office of Mr. Mottaghi, the local prosecutor, announced that subsequent to negotiations conducted between the Ministry of Information central offices in Tehran and the Christian representative of Iranian Christian community, Mr. Forootan who is the assistant to the judge, ordered the release of Ramtin Soodmand subject to the posting of a bail and other legal restrictions. He was to be released on Thursday October 16, 2008, but due to the weekend holidays the date has been postponed.

It is important to remember that Ramtin Soodmand, who is the official minister of the Evangelical Church of Iran in Mashhad, was arrested and detained by the officers of the ministry of information on August 21, 2008.

His lawyer, in filing papers with the court regarding the illegality of his client’s arrest and the violation of his rights, under the current law, to be formally charged and bail hearing to be conducted within 10 days of his arrest, strongly protested that actions of the government.

Finally, Ramtin was formally charged with the crime of anti-government activities, a charge which his lawyer strongly denied and demanded the release of his client. So far, there has been no date set for Ramtin’s trail by the judge.

FCNN reiterates that these charges are unfounded and false. The real reason for his arrest is the fact that he is a Muslim convert who is involved in Christian ministry. Also, it must be mentioned that another Christian minister, Shroder Ashur, an Assyrian minister, who was also charged with the crime of propagation of Christianity, was recently released in the city of Urumieh on October 5, 2008.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper recently carried a moving article about Ramtin Soodmand, a 35-year-old Iranian Christian who was arrested on the 20th August and is presently in prison awaiting charges. Amnesty International have identified Ramtin as a prisoner of conscience. They state, “He is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment and is being held in an unknown location. He is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately as he has been detained solely for his religious beliefs.”

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