Middle East Christians assert their rejection of violence as they relate frustration with lack of Western recognition of the reality of occupation and the collateral damage of bombing campaigns.
Since the outbreak of war after unprecedented terror attacks on Israel by Hamas, Middle Eastern churches, councils, and leaders have expressed their outrage over the killing of thousands of innocent civilians.
Many Arab Christian groups have issued public statements. Most emphasized the Christian call to be peacemakers. Several have been criticized for what some see as calls not specifically addressing the suffering of civilian Jews targeted for death by terrorists.
Originating from Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon—with most prompted by the tragic bombing of the Anglican hospital in Gaza—the public statements range in focus and intensity. Some assert the international community overlooks the context of occupation by the Israeli state; others remind the global church of the continued Christian presence in the land.
CT studied texts from nine Arab and four Western organizations, most of evangelical conviction, and queried the perspective of an Israeli Messianic Jew and a Lebanese Armenian evangelical. The review found that few Middle Eastern statements have named Hamas as the perpetrator of terrorism, while many specifically criticize Israel itself.
One of the most recent statements is from Musalaha, which names both.
The Jerusalem-based reconciliation ministry works with Israelis and Palestinians from diverse religious backgrounds using biblical principles to engage the issues that divide them in pursuit of peace. After two weeks painfully watching the widespread carnage, its public statement centered on “lament” and called for a reconciling response.
“We lament people who, in the name of justice, have allowed rage to perpetuate the cycle of dehumanization and excuse bloodshed; as seen with Hamas’ …