La Fondation Iman

IMAN hosts Eid and Christmas dinner in Beirut

Jeudi, 24 décembre 2015

The Iman Foundation held a dinner party in Beirut in solidarity with the Lebanese soldiers held captive by ISIS, to celebrate the Prophet’s Birthday ( Eid al-Mawled al Nabawi) and Christmas.

The attendees included Maroun Mattar (representative of General Michel Aoun, and Bourj Hammoud municipal council member), Jimmy Francis (representative of President Amin Gemayel), Dr. Saadallah Ardo (representative of the 'Kataeb Party' leader Sheikh Sami Gemayel), Dr. Nabil Bouhabib (representative of the 'Lebanese Forces' leader Samir Geagea), Colonel Joseph Ghantous (representative of the Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji), Consul Khaled Al-Abadi (representative of the Ambassador of Palestine), Ayatollah Sheikh Yusuf Kanj, Sheikh Ayad Abdallah (representative of Dar Al-Fatwa), Sheikh Amer Zeineddine (member of the Druze Spiritual Council), Father Jean Germany (parish priest of St. Doumit), Ibrahim Murad (leader of the 'Syriac Union Party'), Tony Tohme (representative of the 'March 14' General Secretariat), Ali Akil Khalil and Ali Berro (Ambassadors of the World Foundation for Human Rights), singer Bahaa Al-Ali, the families of Lebanese soldiers held captive by ISIS, the family of photographer Samir Kassab, who is also held captive by ISIS, a delegation of the 'Syrian Students Union' , a delegation of the 'Arab Nation Rally' , a delegation of the 'Lebanese-Turkish Youth League' , and a number of representatives of political parties, trade unions, and religious leaders.

After the Lebanese national anthem was played, Father John Germany addressed the audience by emphasizing the significance of the event and the importance of Islamic-Christian coexistence. He said that Lebanon has always been the nation of convergence and love, and that there much need to confront extremism by holding such events that vanquish 'takfiri' ideology, as it represents evil and destroys nations.

Then, Ayatollah Scholar Sheikh Yusuf Kanj made a speech in which he urged the community to reject all calls for strife, intolerance, and extremism, as they lead to violence and terrorism. He also condemned the violence carried out by terrorists who hold extremist beliefs in the name of Islam, and spoke about how that Islam disowns those who are inimical to God and humanity, and lack morals and values. He also called on the world to make efforts to put an end to wars and stop bloodshed.

Dar Al-Fatwa representative Sheikh Ayad Abdallah condemned the 'takfiris' and extremists, and demonstrated how Islam constitutes a religion of partnership, purity, and love. He added saying that today the commemoration of the Prophet’s birth embraced the birth of Christ to awaken us to the danger of interfaith conflict. This also underlines the fact that God wants us to live together in peace and safely, and that those who kill, behead, and shed blood are totally devoid of humanitarianism and faith.

The representative of the 'Confessional Council of the Druze Unitarian Community' Sheikh Amer Zeineddine called for adherence to the spiritual values that are common to Islam and Christianity in order to dispel darkness of the hearts of the Lebanese and brighten their spirits with hope. He also said that Muslims and Christians can coexist on the basis of their belief in one God, and their ability to live together in the nation of peace and tolerance. Sheikh Zeineddine called for laying the foundations of a cultural, humanistic, and futuristic era that is based on thought and reason, away from all forms of violence and coercion. He also thanked the organizers of this event and called for holding additional ones, as “with you, determination is renewed, hope is enjoyed, and love is consolidated.”

The Ambassador of the 'World Foundation for Human Rights' Ali Berro called on the international community to confront the takfiri mind, cut off the takfiris’ supplies, and encourage moderation in the world. He warned of the expansion of extremism and terrorism which now threaten the whole world, and called for the release of the Lebanese soldiers held captive by ISIS without delay. Berro criticized satellite channels for promoting takfiri thought and planting hatred in people’s minds and hearts, and wished that the war would come to an end in Syria, and the displaced would go back home. Finally, he thanked Iman for its stance and its ongoing call to confront extremism and fanaticism.

President of the Iman Foundation for the Middle East, Sheikh Mohammad Al Hajj Hassan then welcomed the attendees and thanked them with the following words:

"Your Eminences, the representatives of political parties, ambassadors, municipalities, trade unions, and associations, doctors, lawyers, artists, the families of Lebanese soldiers held captive by ISIS, our friends, may God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.

This meeting is characterized by a Christian, Muslim and humanitarian atmosphere that compels us to be more committed to our humanitarianism and patriotism, in order to embark in the vastness of the world, build the bridges of convergence, and inculcate in people the belief in humanity and citizenship.

From the birth of God’s messenger Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) to the birth of God’s spirit, Jesus son of Mary (Peace be upon Him), there is a common ground, the oasis of convergence on love, peace, fraternity, and sincere relationships with God and people.

We want reason to prevail. We want the heart filled with love to overcome hatred and evil. We want peace to defeat wars. We want people to live enjoyable and happy lives.

The world is witnessing today a true war against terrorism, extremism, fanaticism, and ignorance in all forms. Religion is only a victim that is abused by conspirators, defeatists, and bystanders living in ignorance and backwardness.

Our faith is one that rises to progress, modernization, civilization, science, and commitment. It espouses the culture of life, awareness, and reflection. It is a faith of tolerance, forgiveness, and serenity.

'Takfir' (labeling others as infidels) which is driven by hidden conspiracies is a thought adopted by human monsters, while many who are supposed to voice their disapproval, have remained silent. The result has been murder, crucifixion, beheading, taking human lives unjustly, demolishing nations, destroying civilizations, and wiping out history.

We reject the accusations of terrorism brought against our religion. But it is not enough to reject, denounce, and condemn; we should rather combine efforts to unify the Muslims’ stance, clear history of all unauthentic impurities that paved the way for the eruption of the volcano of hatred and bloodshed between co-religionists, and people in the same community and nation.

We, the Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, clergy and laymen should be governed by the rules of citizenship and civil laws in a civil, modern and advanced state that protects the freedom of association, religion and thought, in addition to eliminating the restrictions imposed by fear, intimidation and extremism.

Iman has endeavored to deliver a message of moderation and peace to all international forums, by actively participating in conferences and meetings aiming to raise international awareness so that we are delivered from the evil of extremism and terrorism, by undermining the foundations of extremist thought that has distorted the image of [our] religion."

He concluded by congratulating Muslims and Christians on the Prophet’s Birthday and Christmas.

Ambassador Berro honored Sheikh Mohammad Al-Hajj Hassan, IMAN President for the Middle East, with a certificate of appreciation. He also honored Palestinian Ambassador Ashraf Dabbour and singer Bahaa Al-Ali.

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam and President Michel Sleiman also sent thank you and holiday greetings telegrams.

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