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‘Action plan ‘urgently’ needed to preserve Arab Christian identity’

By Rula Samain - May 03,2018 - Last updated at May 03,2018

Father Rifaat Bader, director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media, delivers a lecture at the Jordanian Society for Science and Culture in Amman on Monday (Photo by Rula Samain)

AMMAN — Christian officials on Monday discussed the past and present situation of Arab Christians during a seminar held under the title “Challenges in Numbers and Optimism in Presence”.

Father Rifat Bader, director of the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media delivered a lecture at the Jordanian Society for Science and Culture, offering an overview of the Arab Christians’ presence from 1914 till 2014, supported by facts and figures 

The Levantine Christians have contributed to Arab Renaissance and have made distinguished achievements in the cultural, political and social realms throughout their history, in addition to their role in preserving the Arabic language despite the persecutions and the agony they have faced, Father Bader said.

The darkest period was that of the Ottomans who persecuted Christians for their faith, Father Bader stressed, saying “under the Ottomans’ rule, social division appeared for the first time and Christians were called ‘milleh’ for the first time”.

He added that foreign custodianship in the region was encouraged during this period. 

On the other hand, Farther Bader explained that individuals have often lived peacefully with each other throughout  centuries of Muslim-Christian encounter, a fact that can be seen through the existence of many historical archaeological places such as Um Rassas where churches were built before, and many others after Islam came, thus showing respect and harmony among communities.

Bader also said that moderation is lived in Jordan on a daily basis, demonstrating the Kingdom as a model of coexistence in the world.

“Christians in Jordan have nothing to fear; we are blessed to have a strong and wise leadership, and the strong bond between Jordanians both Christians and Muslims, is something we pride ourselves with, despite the many challenges around us,” Father Bader told The Jordan Times, adding that both religions have much in common to continue building on and growing together. 

What is “urgently” needed now is to strive to maintain the Arab Christian identity through an action plan that revives the educational curricula to include the “true historical sorties” of Arab Christians as the origin of the lands documented by the church and history books, he concluded.

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