28.11.16 | News, Press Reports

Brothers, Sisters and Strangers

Conference of Middle East and European churches in Beirut calls for bridge building between East and West

"Relations between Christians in the Middle East and Europe are strained," concludes Jürgen Reichel, General Secretary of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS). Evangelical church representatives from the Middle East - Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Algeria - and Europe held a three-day meeting in Beirut. For the third time in a row, Evangelical churches have sounded out which future lies before Christians in the Arab-speaking world as well as the importance of collaboration with Western churches.

"Bridge building" has become the central theme of East-West dialogue. Christians in the Middle East complain that severe upheavals in the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria have hardly caused any reaction from the West. They feel very upset that the West is only capable of perceiving the diversity of cultures and religions in the Middle East after groups start forming in the refugee camps in Europe. They are not willing to relieve the West from its special responsibility which it has assumed through its political and military interventions in the past and whose actions have led to the exodus of hundreds and thousands of Christians from Syria and Iraq among other things.

"The collaboration of churches in the Middle East helps us to understand that these communities have always been multi-ethnic and multi-religious. Christians in this region see their future jointly living side by side with Muslim, Druze or Yasidi neighbours. We as EMS strengthen the Christian communities in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Thus, we prevent the advance of ideologies which are striving for uniform societies under the mantle of religion," says Reichel.

Press contact:
Regina Karasch-Böttcher, karasch@dont-want-spam.ems-online.org, Phone: +49 711 636 78 85

General Secretary: Jürgen Reichel, reichel@dont-want-spam.ems-online.org, Phone: +49 178 636 78 31