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Hoping Against Hope

  • Hammerstein Ballroom 311 W 34th St New York, NY 10001 (map)

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An eyewitness account by Fr. Samir Khalil SAMIR SJ, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Saint Joseph, Beirut, about the current suffering and challenges of Christians in the Middle East, and the role of Christian people in overcoming hatred and division.

Father Samir is a native of Egypt and a renowned expert on Islam; as such he has a unique perspective on the current situation in the Middle East, including his native country and Syria. What is the condition of life faced by Christians in many parts of the Middle East? Is it possible to profess and live the Christian faith freely in prevalently Muslim countries? Are there examples in which hatred and divisions have been overcome in the name of the pursuit of a common good rooted in beauty, truth and love?

“Great concern arises from the condition of life faced by Christians who in many parts of the Middle East suffer gravely as a consequence of the current tensions and conflicts underway. Tears still flow in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land. The Bishop of Rome will not rest while there are still men and women of any religion, whose dignity is wounded and who are deprived of their basic needs for survival, robbed of their future, or forced to live as fugitives and refugees. Today, we join the Pastors of the Oriental Churches, in appealing that the right of everyone to a dignified life and to freely profess one's own faith be respected. We must not resign ourselves to thinking of a Middle East without Christians, who for 2,000 years have confessed the name of Jesus, and have been fully integrated as citizens into the social, cultural and religious life of the nations to which they belong.”

(From the Address of Pope Francis to the Participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, November 21, 2013)