August 4, 2006 : The Standing Conference of American Middle-Eastern Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders Convenes in an Emerge
The Most Reverend
|Archbishop of New York and
Metropolitan of All North America
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE STANDING CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN MIDDLE-EASTERN CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONVENES IN AN EMERGENCY SESSION AND ISSUES A RESOLUTION DEALING WITH THE CRISIS IN LEBANON.
Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Chairman and Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
The following members were not able to attend the meeting:
Most Rev. Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, Eparch of Newton, Diocese of Newton, MA
The members discussed the enormous crisis that has been caused in Lebanon by the Israeli bombing and ground offensive. These Israeli military actions have killed more than 900 Lebanese, and have displaced almost 1 million Lebanese citizens from their homes. The vast majority of those Lebanese who have been killed are civilians, and more than one-third of them have been children.
The members of the Standing Conference expressed their solidarity by unanimously approving the following resolution:
1. A call for an immediate and unconditional cease fire to stop the death and destruction
2. A call for the exchange of prisoners between Lebanon and Israel
3. A call for Israel to withdraw from the Shib’aa Farms, which Israel has occupied since 1967, and all other occupied Lebanese lands
4. A call for the international community to give immediate humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering, and to help hundreds of thousands of displaced Lebanese citizens to return to their cities, villages, and homes
5. A call for the international community to help Lebanon rebuild the infrastructure that has been destroyed by Israeli aggression.
6. A call for the UN to investigate the massacre at Qana which took place on Sunday July 30, 2006
7. Support for the statement which was issued by the religious leaders of Lebanon who met in Pkerki – August 1, 2006
8. A call for the implementation of all UN resolutions that address occupied territories in Lebanon and the entire region
9. A statement deploring the killing of any human being, and reiterating that all killing is against our religious beliefs
The assembled religious leaders also focused on fundraising appeals that have been made by every denomination to their faithful. It is hoped that this fundraising will result in generous support which will be sent directly to ease some measure of suffering for the people of Lebanon.
A reporter and photographer from the New Jersey press corps were also present to conduct interviews and take photographs of the assembly. An interview was conducted with Metropolitan Philip, and with His Excellency Tarek Mitri, Lebanese Minister of Culture and acting Foreign Minister. They both stressed the urgent need for an immediate cease fire, the exchange of prisoners between Israel and Lebanon, and the Israeli withdrawal from occupied Lebanese lands.
“…the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” ACTS 11:26