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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Monday, August 30, 2010

A message from an Arab Catholic priest to Pastor Jones who wants to burn the Quran

Original Arabic message.
http://www.thenewalphabet.com/details5692.html


Translated from Arabic by Hussam Ayloush


A message from Father Elias Zahlawi (a Syrian Catholic priest) to Pastor Terry Jones (who is calling for the burning of the Quran).


Respected Pastor Terry Jones,

I have read your worldwide call for the burning of the Quran on this coming 11th of September. Your message stated that you are a pastor of one of the churches in Florida in the United States of America.

As an Arab Catholic priest from Damascus (Syria), I wondered what would be your objective, as an American pastor, for such a call?

I wondered, and I ask you: What are your responsibilities as a pastor?
Are you really a Christian pastor serving God in a church in America?
Or are you merely a layperson from America who is pretending to be in the service of Christ?

Did you give in to your nationalism (Americanism) rather than giving in to your Christianity?

What is your aim with that call?

(Do you wish) to further fuel hatred among people? Is that consistent with (the teachings of) Jesus, whom you represent in your eyes and the eyes of many others?
Tell me, is there in the character of Jesus, in his words or in his actions anything that would remotely justify even a hint of promoting disdain and hatred among people?

Have you forgotten that Jesus was completely for love, forgiveness and peace? Have you forgotten what he taught us when he told his disciples and the people after them to tell God the heavenly Father of all to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who wrong us”? You overlooked or forgot that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and being subjected to insults and vile words, he raised his voice, saying, “O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who, then, do you represent or who are you trying to guide with this call of yours?

Isn’t it enough what has been happening since September 11, 2001: the killing, destruction, displacement and starvation of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, from Palestine – the land of Jesus – by your leaders in particular, headed by George Bush, who was claiming direct communication with God?

Wouldn’t you agree with me that with your call (to burn the Quran), you have demonstrated that you are really unfamiliar with Jesus and that you desperately need to re-discover him again to be a true Christian pastor who calls, like Jesus, for the comprehensive love and full respect for every human being and a commitment to the full and wonderful teachings that call upon all believers, without exception, to always stand beside the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged?

My brother Pastor Terry Jones. Can you tell me, honestly, if Jesus came today, whose side would he take?

Is it the side of the powerful and arrogant oppressors who dominate the world and endlessly plunder its resources, violate its laws and international treaties, and kill people in their countries and destroy houses on top of their owners and turn them into refugees across the earth? Or is it the side of those who are oppressed, the disadvantaged, hungry, and homeless?

Did you forget what Jesus himself would say on the Day of Judgment to each person in front of him: “All that you did to one of my brothers, you actually did to me”?

I wonder if you have overlooked or forgotten that Jesus did not point in that speech on the Day of Judgment to the religion of any of those mistreated persons. He only referred to everyone as belonging to the human race and to his standing with the deprived, the weak, and the oppressed in this world.

So how could you as an American Christian pastor stand with the oppressors from your country whose injustice has spread around the world?

Aren’t you afraid of when you appear before Jesus on Judgment Day and you are burdened with a heavy conscience, like your leaders who are blinded by the gods of power, money, control and greed?

My brother Pastor Terry. Do you think I am being unfair if I conclude that your hatred toward Islam is what drove you to such a reprehensible call for the burning of Islam's holy book, the Quran?

But let me ask you, as a Syrian Roman Catholic priest: What do you know about Islam? It appears to me from your call to burn the Quran that you are ignorant of Christ and Christianity, and that makes me believe that you are also ignorant of Islam and Muslims.

Believe me, it is not my intention to indict you and it is not my intention to engage with you in a religious debate about Christianity or Islam. However, after I prayed for a long time, let me suggest for both of us to make a joint effort on this coming September 11.

You might ask me what effort can we do jointly when you are in Florida and I'm in Damascus?

Here is my suggestion.

I invite you to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people.

This is what people need rather than the un-Christian call to fuel the sentiment of hatred and division.

Come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers.

Come to Damascus to witness and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind or expectation of all the churches of the West or their bishops, pastors, and clergymen.

Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return.

My brother Pastor Terry.

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus.

I ask God to make our anticipated meeting the beginning of a long and interesting path that we undertake together with other brothers in Damascus and around the world.

How desperate is the need of our world for bright roads.

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

Father Elias Zahlawi

48 comments:

Carl Davidson said...

As you can see here, the left has no monopoly on proletarian internationalism and human solidarity. Amen, Father...

Anonymous said...

How rational, beautiful and almost poetic. God bless him.

blueberrypancakesfordinner said...

OH Father, thank you so much for this!! i am going to share it with my friends on facebook...
G*D bless!
erika

Anonymous said...

This is very heart felt and beautiful. However, very sadly, this church is the extremist kind that is proud of protesting abortion clinics and pornography stores aka condemning everyone to hell and leaving no room for people to change or grow. They have small minds that do not leave room for dialogue or a meeting of the minds. I wish this extremist right wing religious fanataic was not given the time of day by the media. But I understand that politics runs our media and it is 100% biased. Bravo to this Father though. Really wonderful! I'm happy to share this.

Jin Pakai Tuncit said...

how beautiful!
how simple!
and yet, how difficult for most people to grasp?!
may Allah bless such people as this priest.

kathleen said...

Dear Father Zahlaw,
Thank you for your letter to "pastor Jones".
I grew up as a Catholic in America and never knew anything about Islam until after 911. My interest at that time arose out of the backlash against Muslims because 19 Muslims supposedly caused the horror of 911. It doesn't seem to matter to many that these men had more political than religious motives or that these men are actually Islamic heretics.When I read about Mohammed, Blessings be upon him, I found out that during his life he sought to bring peace among the tribes and factions of his day. This was not an easy task.One of his most important messages was even in time of war one must not harm women and children.What you have told pastor Jones about Jesus' teachings I retain though I am an atheist now. I appreciate my religious upbringing and try to follow Christ's teaching of love and acceptance. It is heart breaking to me to see innocent people suffer. Innocent Muslims are being blamed for the acts of others that they neither committed nor condoned .I hope that the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan,Vietnam, Cambodia,and Korea do not blame me for the horrific death and destruction caused by my government in their countries .I have been accepted by Muslim friends and organizations though I am not of their faith. Good people come from all backgrounds and beliefs. I hope more people, as you do, will consider that what one personally does in life and not what they look like or what nationality or religion one thinks they belong is what by what they should be judged .Actually judgements should be left up to courts and for believers; to God.
But for me it is "Love thy neighbor as thy self. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As a Christian and a pastor, Jones needs to practice 2 Jesus' most important messages.

Todd Gallinger said...

MashAllah, thanks for sharing Hussam. Did you translate? It is very, very moving.

katcam831 said...

Kathleen, you comment was almost as poetic as the letter from the pastor itself. It is terribly sad that there are not more people with your mind set!! I agree with you 100%. I was raised in the christian faith and have great respect for it...but likewise I respect all other faiths. Religion can be an interesting thing and it is sad that people can not see that there are "bad people" in all of them....it is not the RELIGION that causes problem but people with no respect for the life of others...or respect for the life that God has given them. I have many Arabic friends and they are a devoted and loving people. I am blessed to have them in my life. Peace be among the people!!

Anonymous said...

It is sad that this church thinks they are honoring God by being destructive.

At the same time though, this Father is attacking "Americanism" with anti-American ideas. Bush and Obama were evil for what they have done. They have set up democracy and improved the standard of living for many people in Iraq.

Mubarik said...

Kathleen i just love your comment,i think u and the priest have somthing in common keep on with such touching comment,may god bless you.

bajisabdo said...

Very well said "ABUNA" Fater keep up Gods words

Anonymous said...

I AM MOVED AND HAVE SHARED YOUR LEADERSHIP WITH MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS TODAY. I THANK YOU FATHER FOR OPENING UP MY EYES AND REMINDING ME US ABOUT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND THE PRICE OF IGNORANCE. I AM A CATHOLIC MAN WITH FRIENDS OF ALL RACES AND RELIGIONS AND NOONE COULD HAVE SAID IT BETTER. THANK YOU IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT FOR THE ROLE YOU HAVE TAKEN TO STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HUMAN RACE. SINCERLY BAJIS

Anonymous said...

Muslims as true Muslims were thought that we all are believers no matter what believe we belong to.



As a Muslim who was born in a Muslim / Arab country of a Muslim parents and now living among Christians, I have to respect those who I live side to side with. My believe is asking me to be in a good foot with all humans around me. Those people who blow the twin Towers off in the USA, were Arabs as said from the US authorities, in which I dont really believe in it and never did believed it, They must have done it because of what their own country have been through or as an act of what they have seen others of their own people been through as mentioned by an American sister. We have to remember that almost 2 millions of both Christians and Muslims brothers and sister in Palestine are today living in hunger and the US as a stat are helping in killing thousands and thousands of innocent people from many different believes in many Arabs /Muslim countries. Wonder if it is not about time for the world humans to wake op and see what is going on to humans around the poor side of the world. White Race have been steeling all the wealth from the poor under developed countries, and now as those countries got their freedom, they have been living in hell because of the white man indecent way in putting hatred among them. I hope and wish in the name of the holly God that He will take the revenge for those poor people around the world. As we muslim believe that the end of the world in nearing us with such a speed and our end is soon here. So let us hold hands and walk through life hand in hands in peace and move all that hatred from our hearts. This is a call to all humanity no matter what believe they belong to, so May Alaah listen to my prayers and make it to reality.


M. Bazara (Denmark)

Anonymous said...

your comment was very interesting and to the point. I love it and it goes to show how nice other people can be towards other religion other than their own , this my brother is love and this love is what we need all over the world right now.May Allah bless you .

Anonymous said...

I'm truley touched by this letter.The term Muslim literally means " One who surrender to GOD"
The term ALLAH literally means The
One & Only True GOD.You can find ALLAH written all over the christian arabic Bible & the muslim
Quran.So why would any christian want to burn the Quran, the book that glorifies ALLAH,the very same Diety that was ptayed to by Jesus (in the garden of getseneme),by moses & Aberaham ?...Only ignorance& hate will produce such behavior...All of us need to pray for the poor minister in Florida

Alan Gallagher said...

Part 1
I am not in favor of burning any books, even as a symbol. If I were to advise the American Pastor, it would against such a burning. One does not unnecessarily offend. Burning one (book or person) leads to burning others, although there are many books over the years which I have thrown in the garbage or burn pile, rather than give them away, because they were worthless or even nasty. I am depressed, for example, by many so-called children's books, as I am by prime-time tv, where people are to be met whom I would not invite into my home. It is ironic, however, that it is feared that this book burning may lead to violence (by Muslims?). I am reminded of an event a few years back when another American Pastor condemned Islam as a violent religion, and Muslims all over the world protested with violence, e.g., burning churches and killing people in India. However offensive book or Koran burning might be, it does not justify violent responses.

Alan L. Gallagher said...

Part II
So, I would condemn the American Pastor's book-burning--wrong headed, more likely to promote hatred than otherwise. But it is good of him to point out the content of the book, and the practices of the book's supporters, and why should he not identify and condemn some of those practices. I also object to this book-burning because it might be held to suggest that 9/11 and the Koran are connected. This may be his intent: to say that the actual content of the book and practices of Islam do lead to violence. There is precedent and evidence for this arguement. Islam, originally, spread by violence. Islam if often maintained today by violence, and has practices which, from a Western point of view, are profoundly wrong. Islam, from a Catholic perspective, is wrong and is a heresy...that is, its ideas and assertions are wrong, and should be identified and opposed. At the very least, these ideas and assertions can be talked about, debated, even symbollically.

The author of the letter you forwarded, however, is too quick to make and publish assumptions--actually quite vicious and unwarranted assumptions-- about the beliefs and motiviations of Pastor Jones (whom I don't know, except to have read about, and don't particularly defend. I have known many bigoted pastors, and don't know whether he is one or not. If I really wanted to know, I would do some homework). If I recall the Biblical admonition, it would be more appropriate for the Syrian priest first to communicate in private with Pastor Jones, rather than issue a letter which accuses him of hatred and ignorance. The Syrian Priest's Letter, with its accusatory tone and accusations, does not appear really to be designed to lead to dialogue and its invitation seems of the nature of a rhetorical question:

"Dear Vicious American Fake Pastor (who really hates Jesus, and does not understand Christianity or Islam, and who supports the vicious murder of hundreds of millions of innocent people by the Nazi President Idiot Evil Bush and his fellow American imperialists who violate every law and treaty in sight). Please come visit me, so that we can talk about the many anti-Chrisitian ideas and practices which I, even though I don't know you, assume you must have.... Won't you agree, dear Christian Fake Pastor, that you are really not a true Christian...?"

Alan L. Gallagher said...

Part III:
There is the Jesus of the overturning of the tables of the money-lenders, the Jesus who called the leaders of his people "whited sepulchres," the Jesus of symbolic speech.

Perhaps Pastor Jones is indeed guilty as charged (I suggest that the Syrian priest has no evidence for his accusations, but makes all of them up from whole cloth, just from the proposed burning of the Korean--One American custom is the quaint custom of seeking the truth before making accusations)--but I cannot conclude that what from I have read about him. Perhaps Pastor Jones has studied Islam and read the Koran--it is surprising at times how studious and learned some Protestant Pastors are-- and is very properly concerned about the hatred and harsh laws and practices done in the name of Islam ( as I assume you--and the Syrian Priest-- also are). The Syrian priest letter-writer is quick, too quick, to made snide imputations, not even insinuations but straight-out declarations...that Pastor Jones is not really a Pastor, that he cannot really be a Christian, that he cannot understand either Christianity or Islam, that unlike Jesus he is on the wrong side, that he must be guided by hatred or by excessive pro-Americanism, that he too is complicit in the deaths of "hundreds of millions." The assumptions and assertions of the letter are quite breath-taking, and hardly worthy of the "Christian" attitude the author wishes us to have. As a teacher, I would grade the letter with a "F." He should have the grace to accept his own advice. These assumptions are unworthy of a Christian or priest letter writer.

When Salmon Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, he too "made fun" of Islam, and was sentenced to death and threatened because he offended some Muslims. Are we to presume that he too was full of hatred, or pro-American, or pick-your-phrase ? Is Islam to be beyond criticism ? I have seen the famous Cartoons, and thought them hilarious. They were actually spread by Muslims: otherwise people in the rest of the world would never have heard about these obscure cartoons from an obscure newspaper in an obscure country. People may be right or wrong in their particular acts or particular ideas, without suddenly being properly accused of having a whole set of other ideas. Is it not, or should it not be, the point of the Syrian Priest's approach NOT to accuse others and NOT to use labels? He is guilty in his letter of the very offense of which he accuses Pastor Jones. Others who left Islam, or write in criticism of it (from inside or out), too often face similar threats and criticism: I have read many of their books, and watched them on TV. [I would say that I probably read 20+ books a year in this area, and many magazine and newspaper articles, and watch many TV discussions, and meet with many Muslims and others who have spent time in Israel/Palestine. One of my fellow teachers here lived and taught in both Israel and Gaza: he was forced to leave Gaza because of violence and threats against Americans. He went to Gaza, after living and teaching in Israel, so that he could help the people of Gaza and learn what the world looked like from their perspectives--notice the "s"--what he learned what that dissent is not tolerated in Gaza].

Alan L. Gallagher said...

Part IV:
I don't know anything of your Syrian Priest writer beyond this letter. His invitation is good, but his letter--most of it--is not, unless he means to educate by offending in the same way as those he accuses...by making unwarranted assumptions...a clever and satiric method, but probably not what he intended. One does not write such a letter when a real invitation is intended.

As a result of my several visits to the leading Mosque of Korea (in Itaewon-dong) earlier this year(and on each visit, I took Koreans or other Americans with me), several of my students have also visited the Mosque, met its leaders, and one even took a class of Korean younger students for a like experience. I was given copies of the Koran, and taught to recite Muslim prayers. We also visited Muslim-owned stores in the area--bookstores, bakeries, restaurants, clothing stores, local groceries-to meet and talk with their owners and customers, and thus experience Islam as the beloved possession of neighbors, not as a "foreign" religion. I have invited Muslims (from Morocco and from Nepal) to my classes, aboard the Blue Ridge, and here in Korea, to talk about their countries and about their religion. The Moroccan and I talk, in our cafeteria, a couple of times a week: he is also a student in the language school nearby. I have even given away two copies of the Koran here at school, and assisted the Blue Ridge library to purchase several copies. These invitations were not confrontation: I did not invite these guests to defend Islam or to be under the gun, but to explain what they wanted about it, and to tell us of the role Islam played in their lives. Aboard the Blue Ridge, our most visible Muslim was a widely respected Chief Petty Officer, whose character and seriousness were respected by all: Merely by existing, merely by being on board, he showed that Islam could be a possession of good people, and that "Islam" was not responsible for 9/11. I think one best teaches by such methods, not by burning books.

Alan L. Gallagher said...

Part III:
There is the Jesus of the overturning of the tables of the money-lenders, the Jesus who called the leaders of his people "whited sepulchres," the Jesus of symbolic speech.

Perhaps Pastor Jones is indeed guilty as charged (I suggest that the Syrian priest has no evidence for his accusations, but makes all of them up from whole cloth, just from the proposed burning of the Korean--One American custom is the quaint custom of seeking the truth before making accusations)--but I cannot conclude that what from I have read about him. Perhaps Pastor Jones has studied Islam and read the Koran--it is surprising at times how studious and learned some Protestant Pastors are-- and is very properly concerned about the hatred and harsh laws and practices done in the name of Islam ( as I assume you--and the Syrian Priest-- also are). The Syrian priest letter-writer is quick, too quick, to made snide imputations, not even insinuations but straight-out declarations...that Pastor Jones is not really a Pastor, that he cannot really be a Christian, that he cannot understand either Christianity or Islam, that unlike Jesus he is on the wrong side, that he must be guided by hatred or by excessive pro-Americanism, that he too is complicit in the deaths of "hundreds of millions." The assumptions and assertions of the letter are quite breath-taking, and hardly worthy of the "Christian" attitude the author wishes us to have. As a teacher, I would grade the letter with a "F." He should have the grace to accept his own advice. These assumptions are unworthy of a Christian or priest letter writer.

When Salmon Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, he too "made fun" of Islam, and was sentenced to death and threatened because he offended some Muslims. Are we to presume that he too was full of hatred, or pro-American, or pick-your-phrase ? Is Islam to be beyond criticism ? I have seen the famous Cartoons, and thought them hilarious. They were actually spread by Muslims: otherwise people in the rest of the world would never have heard about these obscure cartoons from an obscure newspaper in an obscure country. People may be right or wrong in their particular acts or particular ideas, without suddenly being properly accused of having a whole set of other ideas. Is it not, or should it not be, the point of the Syrian Priest's approach NOT to accuse others and NOT to use labels? He is guilty in his letter of the very offense of which he accuses Pastor Jones. Others who left Islam, or write in criticism of it (from inside or out), too often face similar threats and criticism: I have read many of their books, and watched them on TV. [I would say that I probably read 20+ books a year in this area, and many magazine and newspaper articles, and watch many TV discussions, and meet with many Muslims and others who have spent time in Israel/Palestine. One of my fellow teachers here lived and taught in both Israel and Gaza: he was forced to leave Gaza because of violence and threats against Americans. He went to Gaza, after living and teaching in Israel, so that he could help the people of Gaza and learn what the world looked like from their perspectives--notice the "s"--what he learned what that dissent is not tolerated in Gaza].

Alan L Gallagher said...

Part IV:
I don't know anything of your Syrian Priest writer beyond this letter. His invitation is good, but his letter--most of it--is not, unless he means to educate by offending in the same way as those he accuses...by making unwarranted assumptions...a clever and satiric method, but probably not what he intended. One does not write such a letter when a real invitation is intended.

As a result of my several visits to the leading Mosque of Korea (in Itaewon-dong) earlier this year(and on each visit, I took Koreans or other Americans with me), several of my students have also visited the Mosque, met its leaders, and one even took a class of Korean younger students for a like experience. I was given copies of the Koran, and taught to recite Muslim prayers. We also visited Muslim-owned stores in the area--bookstores, bakeries, restaurants, clothing stores, local groceries-to meet and talk with their owners and customers, and thus experience Islam as the beloved possession of neighbors, not as a "foreign" religion. I have invited Muslims (from Morocco and from Nepal) to my classes, aboard the Blue Ridge, and here in Korea, to talk about their countries and about their religion. The Moroccan and I talk, in our cafeteria, a couple of times a week: he is also a student in the language school nearby. I have even given away two copies of the Koran here at school, and assisted the Blue Ridge library to purchase several copies. These invitations were not confrontation: I did not invite these guests to defend Islam or to be under the gun, but to explain what they wanted about it, and to tell us of the role Islam played in their lives. Aboard the Blue Ridge, our most visible Muslim was a widely respected Chief Petty Officer, whose character and seriousness were respected by all: Merely by existing, merely by being on board, he showed that Islam could be a possession of good people, and that "Islam" was not responsible for 9/11. I think one best teaches by such methods, not by burning books.

Hany said...

I will imagine Jesus is present now to see that,,how do you think he will respond? he never accept that... Christianity is only love and giving no killing, discrimination or hurting the human feelings ..
hany Morkos

Reine Razzouk said...

The Holy Spirit spoke through you Rev. Father Zahlawi. This is the behaviour of a real Christian. Jesus is love - love your neighbour as yourself. Jesus condemns hatred and revenge, these being Characteristics of Satan. He is a loving and forgiving God!
God bless you Father! I am praying for Pastor Jones to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and act accordingly.

Susanelzaatari@yahoo.com said...

Thank you Father for your beautiful message and invitation to Pastor Jones. I hope that he will visit Syria and see that Moslems and Christians live side by side in peace and mutual respect, even though Moslems out number Christians by a huge margin.

Ritianne Abohason said...

I'm going to Syria, Damascus as well and would love to meet this priest. Having been Catholic and converted to Islam, I have deep love for both religions. Thank you for your letter.

Rev. Laurie McKnight said...

Thank you Father. I hope Pastor Terry Jones reads your words, incorporates them, and responds in kind. God bless you,
Rev. Laurie McKnight
First Presbyterian Church
Maysville, Kentucky, USA

Anonymous said...

A true Christian. One who knows how to share and love the common humanity between all of God's creatures.

Anonymous said...

The pastor of the Florida church debuted a book about Islam being evil on August 5. Like some leaders within any religion, he is a self promoter. His actions have brought him attention and with that probably book sales. Unfortunately, too many humans are sheep and are easily lead by their fear of the unknown, their inability to make sense of the world, the non-stop pace of change, and a tendency to find comfort in blaming people they don't know (rather than seeing the institutional and/or political sources). Leaders like this take advantage of people and pit them against each other for their own power and aggrandizement.

leo said...

your letter is wounderful,im a muslim and im pround of a wounderful kindful person like u,,thank u alot
god bless u

Anonymous said...

I am an Evangelical pastor ministering in a neighboring Arab country to Syria. I agree with father that this act by the pastor in Florida is totally foreign to the spirit of the teachings and actions of our Lord. Almost all Evangelicals and Christians from the Historic churches in the Middle East deplore such acts.Leaders of Evangelicals in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have rightly issued statements condemning such acts.
However, I wish father Hussam had limited his remarks to spiritual matters.Less propaganda from Father Hussam for his country Syria and its majority Muslims would have been in order. Because it was Syria that gave rise to the militant Muslim brotherhood and consequently the bloody backlash that they invoked from the minority rulers who have killed thousands in the early 80's( can you forget Hama?)
While it is true that Syria now enjoys relative internal peace due to the heavy involvement of the Mukhabarat- the secret police-things are boiling there at the moment. If, God forbid, anything happens to the secular regime in Syria, the majority Sunnis will rise again and their first target would be the Christians.One must not forget history- the History of Muslim conquerors from Arabia and their conquests of Damascus and all of Syria. The present day Umayyad mosque in Damascus used to be a church in the 7th Century. Not to mention the first Holocaust of the 20th Century, the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Muslim Turks in 1915- all in the name of Islam!
Already Christians in the Middle East are regarded as second class citizens.For, although for the most part they have their civil rights, and have lived in peace side by side with the Muslims,but is is a peace of the conquered by the conqueror. Christians are still subject to the Muslim laws of inheritance and other such laws. Many Christian denominations are losing members to Islam, while no Muslim can legally convert to Christianity.In Syria it is illegal to start a new Christian denomination. In Egypt, it is illegal to repair a church or paint it without a presidential decree!! The issues are too many to recount here.
I wonder if Father Hussam can raise such issues in his blog. I am sure he cannot. All he can do is parrot the attack of his country's official media against the Americans.It is an 'easy' target.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Father Hussam that this act by the pastor in Florida is totally foreign to the spirit and teachings of Christ.Christians in the Middle East deplore such acts.Churches in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan have rightly issued statements condemning such acts.
However, I wish father Hussam had limited his remarks to spiritual matters.Less propaganda from Father Hussam for his country Syria and its majority Muslims would have been in order. Because it was Syria that gave rise to the militant Muslim brotherhood and consequently the bloody backlash that they invoked from the minority rulers who have killed thousands in the early 80's( can you forget Hama?)
While it is true that Syria now enjoys relative internal peace due to the heavy involvement of the Mukhabarat- the secret police-things are boiling there at the moment. If, God forbid, anything happens to the secular regime in Syria, the majority Sunnis will rise again and their first target would be the Christians.One must not forget history- the History of Muslim conquerors from Arabia and their conquests of Damascus and all of Syria. The present day Umayyad mosque in Damascus used to be a church in the 7th Century. Not to mention the first Holocaust of the 20th Century, the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Muslim Turks in 1915- all in the name of Islam!
Already Christians in the Middle East are regarded as second class citizens.For, although for the most part they have their civil rights, and have lived in peace side by side with the Muslims,but is is a peace of the conquered by the conqueror. Christians are still subject to the Muslim laws of inheritance and other such laws. Many Christian denominations are losing members to Islam, while no Muslim can legally convert to Christianity.In Syria it is illegal to start a new Christian denomination. In Egypt, it is illegal to repair a church or paint it without a presidential decree!! The issues are too many to recount here.
I wonder if Father Hussam can raise such issues in his blog. I am sure he cannot. All he can do is parrot the attack of his country's official media against the Americans.It is an 'easy' target.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about the pastor in question, but I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to go to Syria and meet this Catholic priest! I am absolutely blown away by his words and want to meet him and meet my Muslim, Christiananf Catholic brohers and sisters in Syria ( I'm Muslim, by the way).

Anonymous said...

Father Elias,
As a Roman Catholic follower, I am really proud of you. If only I could meet you, talk to you...it would really be my happiness. Pray for us Father, so that we will always put love over anything else in tis world. Bless us Father

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father Hussam, you summerized the essentials of Christ's teachings. I agree with you and Kathleen. I have a feeling that pastor Jones and his "friends" are infiltrated by radical Moslems, because that is what they want: the effect after the burning, to provoke more hate and its consequences. What is the percentage of radical Moslems between the many, many peace loving Moslems and the percentage of pastor Jones and his gang between the many, many peace loving Christians?

KikyoIII said...

Lord, may the Love of Your Holy Spirit spread like Fire as it has touched this preist's heart... <3
We Love you so much God, thank You for what You have done!!! Thank You Jesus for being Faithful and Our Strength! Raise up this generation and bless ALL sincere hearts and open our eyes to Your Truth God <3
No matter what we all believe there is but One Truth, One Love, One people who cry out. Abba.

Anonymous said...

Thank you father for these beautiful words, I just think that this so called "priest" can only hear himself. God bless you

Mazen

Hussam Ayloush said...

For the record, I only translated the message.
I am not Father Hussam, except to my kids :)

The author is Father Elias.

Roger said...

this is way too nice of a letter in addressing such a out of hand person whose is threatening the peace of the world with his ignorance.

atn1987pring said...

Hi, i'm from indonesia and i'm a catholic.

Thank you Father Elias Zahlawi for these beatiful words.

And many thanks for Mr. Hussam for translate this open letter.

i will share this open letter to my friends.

Anonymous said...

Simple and beautifully said! :)

ABP

Anonymous said...

The words of this priest do not surprise me. I am a muslim, i have lived in the middle east my whole life before coming to the US. The priest's invitation is genuine. I can tell you for certain that it is from the heart because that is the way in the middle east. People will alway open their homes and their hearts to you, no matter where you are from and what you believe. Christians and muslims in the arab world live together peacefully. Of course, there will always be individuals of any religion, any race, any nationality that use religion to justify their actions. They do this to justify it to themselves, fooling themselves that it is for God when deep inside they know that they will not see heaven through these actions. In times of war Islam teaches that you do not take the first shot, only when you have been attacked do you defend yourself. Women, children, the elderly, anyone who is not attacking you is never to be harmed. Churches, synogogues, mosques or any homes, buildings, religous or not, are not to be destroyed, no schools, no trees no animals are to be harmed. The people responsible for 9/11 are not muslims. They are only muslims by birth, not soul or heart, brainwashed by who knows who, just like the so called christians who run into schools and kill innocent students and teachers, or so-called christians who blow up buildings in Oklahoma City. Born christians but not christians in heart and soul.
I am a muslim and i have friends of many faiths. My best and closest friends whom I have known for most of my life are christian. They celebrate my holidays with me and I celebrate their holidays with them. Religion is not an issue with us. We are friends, sisters and brothers. We are citizens of Earth, our parents are Adam and Eve, our God is the same God. Our religions (true religions) teach us love, respect, compassion, peace and tolerance.
If this ivitation is accepted then the visit to Syria would really be a life changing experience. He can not imagine the hospitality that awaits him, the tolerance and the understanding. An american friend of mine recently visited Syria and had a wonderful time. Loved the people and the hospitality.
(And the food is amazing.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Reverend Father Elias Zahlawi
You are a true Follower of Hazrat Isah Alaihissalam , the soul of God, you are a true christian and your thinkings are not much in difference to IsLam. I admire you.

Harris said...

By burning the Quran, these people have shown that there is hatred amoung humanity which is the minor signs of al-Qiyamah. Let them be filled with hatred while we as Muslim spread love and forgiveness. For God have not shown them the proper path. We shall not join them in words of hatreds. Let us pray for our souls to be forgiven by Allah and that their souls too, to be forgiven by Allah. Why fear when Allah promised the Quran will be protected. Let us see how many Quran can they afford to burn with their money. We continue to pray that these resources are instead used to help the people around the world that is in need. I shall NOT burn the bible even if I have the authority or/and power to do so unless I am directed from God via the means of the Quran which I have to dissapoint many, does not contain such a teaching. I too am aware that it is not present in the bible to such an action. Let us all pray to God in faith that this Pastor be given the light to the right path.

Christoph said...

Has the "Pastor" Jones (is he a priest,and of which denomination?) actually ever looked into the Quran? He would have found high praises of Jesus as one of the mostimportant and benevolent prophets far from inciting such hatred as Mr.Jones does. And where Mr. Jones would have found that his "Christian" Mary is mentioned more often (as "Mariam") than in the Bible! Would Mr. J still want to destroy such a book and with it the first tender shoots of interfaith understanding recovering the credibility which the vast majority of his of his fellow Americans deserve as tolerant benevolent people, after the previous administration's hapless and destructive attempts of dealing with the rest of the world as "preventive?) revenge for theindeniably horrific crime of soem individuals acting in complete defiance of all the quran stnds for. Anddid Mr. Jones understand that the mosque to be built with everyone's relevant consent near ground zero is planned to have multifaith prayer facilitie, perhaaps an idea for Mr. J's church to show that it's congregation can grow in reconciliation above their sadly misguided sheherd's restrictive outlook. "Peace cannot be kept by Force, it can only be achieved by Understanding" said Albert Einstein and that is also the motto of our completely neutral and independent www.MultiFaithBook.org, where brothers and sisters of all (and no)faiths are welcome to publish (for free, no strings attached)their writings and invitations to events they might be staging anywhere to enhance understanding through direct personal contacts. (See eaxmples in "All Events) yours Christoph, London England

Roedy Siswanto said...

Thank You Father ,
I would like to invite Father Jones also to come to Indonesia ..Where some bombs was exploded but ..I can show him how we ..christians and Moslem can sit together and talk to share our religion in a peace and kind atmosphere ...I prayed for you Father Jones ..to show what Jesus asked to do ....As what syrian Father said in his letter ...

yasmina hussein said...

All my respect for father Elias and if one day i'll visit Syria, i am sure i'll visit him.

Anonymous said...

God bless you father Elias...

John said...

As a Christian, I was born & lived all my life in the arab world with the muslims.
Yes I agree that there are pockets of fanatics - but then these are in every part of the world too !
No one can blame a whole nation or religion for the actions of a few illiterates - this is what causes wars and hatred in the world.
I am no preacher but I believe that the decision to judge should be left to our creator himself. We are no one to judge anyone but our own selves first.
" Do not look at the log in your brothers eye when you have one in your own "