In Jordan and in Lebanon, a struggle for coexistence between Christians and Muslims
AMMAN – During a televised speech on March 3, 2015, King Abdullah of Jordan reaffirmed the importance of unity and brotherhood to allow Christians and Muslim to live side by side. An important message to listen to in a region where this principle of brotherhood is not heard everywhere.
As the head of a State touched to the heart by the death of a pilot in January, King Abdullah spoke about the necessity of allowing Christians and Muslims to live together. “Today, he said, all members of our society are united behind our homeland. In living together in brotherhood and solidarity as in a family, Christians and Muslim, citizens from different origins, are ready to answer the call of duty”. This position is undoubtedly – but hopefully – shared by other leaders of the Middle East, in countries where Islamo-Christian coexistence is multisecular. But this point of view is not sufficiently expressed and finds itself face to face with the emergence of Daesh, which seeks to deny and destroy our coexistence.
The King further said that all means are used in education so that the young generations may work and learn values of ambition, excellence, initiative or citizenship. “This urge, he added, should immunize them against radicalism and violence, which are contrary to our values, our ethics and to everything we stand for. The sanctity of life and self-respect and respect to others are the essence of our beliefs”.
Proud of the initiatives of his country, King Abdullah talked about the key role of Jordan in sheltering refugees from neighbouring countries. Hosted in different camps or institutions, the newcomers receive assistance and relief from religious institutions.
This coexistence between Christians and Muslims was essential in building up societies in the Middle East. If the size of communities today is very unbalanced, cooperation among them is necessary to secure peace. It is in this spirit that in Lebanon, another country where Christians live in harmony with Muslims, the singer Tania Kassis wrote a song (listen here), mixing a Hail Mary with a call to prayer to celebrate the first Muslim-Christian Day, on March 25, around the figure of the Virgin Mary who in Islam is held in a prominent place.
This original initiative, as the speech of the King of Jordan, should serve as an example for other countries in the region, a testimony that brotherhood between communities is not in vain, and a call to the international community to secure the protection of this understanding.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt