Some 70 high-ranking Arab church leaders, together with their Western counterparts and Muslim clerics gathered in Amman, Jordan, on Sept. 3-4 for a meeting to deal with the challenges facing Arab Christians. The Christian and Muslims leaders aimed to find a way to end the sectarian strife threatening their people and countries. “We must confront extremist trends,” Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, told the gathering. He said it was the duty of religious leaders and their communities to work jointly “to get the new generation to accept the other,” in order to “isolate these trends.” For decades, Arab Christians have been fleeing the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East in large numbers, mainly because of violence. Within the past two-and-a-half years, some 450,000 Christians are believed to be among the two million people who have fled the civil war in Syria, an ancient land of historic churches and the country where St. Paul encountered Christ on the road to Damascus.
Challenges for Arab Christians