A Middle East Church leader has expressed his concern for Christians and the potential adverse consequences that could result from increased pressure by the Syrian government, and especially if violence escalates into a fully blown civil war.
The Syriac Catholic Church’s Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan told the Catholic News Service, "This chaos, surely – with no means to implement security – will lead to civil war," said the patriarch, who stressed that a civil war in Syria would not merely be a struggle among political parties to control the power.
"It will be confessional (religious), and war in the name of God is far worse than a political struggle. And this is what we fear." more >>
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been planning for years to find a way to unite the world's major religions in an effort to help foster peace, and believes a new international organization to be housed in Vienna, Austria will help make that dream a reality. As the institution was officially founded Thursday, some Christians are likely to start pointing to interpretations of biblical prophecy about the emergence of a one-world religion many believe precedes the return of Jesus Christ.
According to media reports, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Austrian Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger and Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez Garcia-Herrera oversaw the signing of a contract between the three nations Thursday, in which they will cooperate in the building and organization of an interfaith center in Vienna. Other high level officials from the three nations were also reportedly in attendance at the treaty signing.
The building, to be called the "King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue," was conceived of by its namesake and mostly financed by the Saudi government. According to media reports the center will be composed of a governing body of 12 representatives, among that number will be representatives from Islam (one each Sunni and Shiite), Christians (one each Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox), a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Jewish representative. more >>
In an interview Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wants the Palestinians to have their own state, but also wants security for Israel.
“The Palestinians want a state, but they have to give peace in return,” Netanyahu stated.
The interview came after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech to the United Nation's General Assembly Friday asking them to vote in favor of granting statehood to the Palestinians, a move that the United States vowed to veto. more >>
President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York Wednesday morning, saying that there is no short cut to peace in the Middle East.
"I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades," said Obama. "Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.
"Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.” more >>
As Palestinians officially kick off their bid for statehood recognition by the United Nations, a Jewish interest group is calling on President Barack Obama to stand firm with Israel and reverse his so-called “anti-Israel” stance.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said his group is determined to submit an application to the U.N. for recognition as a state, with the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem included as territories.
"It is our legitimate right to demand the full membership of the state of Palestine in the U.N.," Abbas said last Friday when announcing the Palestinian Authority's intentions. more >>
Palestine is expected to submit a formal letter requesting United Nations membership Friday, after the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, Israel and the United States hope to avoid any such showdown at the U.N. and instead focus on peace talks between the two Middle Eastern countries.
Abbas has received pressure from outsiders to drop the request, but claims he won’t be deterred from seeking what he feels is Palestine’s right. The majority of the world is expected to vote symbolically in favor of Palestinian independence. The territories seeking to be called the state of Palestine reside in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and land captured by Israel in the 1967 war. more >>