lunedì, Ottobre 25

A very Syrian Christmas ISIS is failing to destroy the spirit of unity in Syria

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Beirut – If Syria continues to be at war  – a war which has claimed too many of its sons and daughters not to remain an open scar on the region, Syrians as a whole have remained hopeful, united in their prayer that peace will soon heal their broken land.

A beautiful and rich ethno-religious mosaic, Syria is home to many different religious communities: sunnis, shiites, Sufis, Druzes, Christians, Alawites.

While radicals have over the past few years made every effort to fragment, divide and isolate those communities, in view of cultivating hatred and fear, Syrians have found in their respective differences a strength which transcends them all.

Natale siriano 3

And because they have recognized in their respective faiths, worship, and beliefs, the seed of the same love and injunction to peace, Syrians of all ethnicities and faiths came together this Christmas to celebrate God, by standing together in prayer.

In a twist of fate, this Christmas came to coincide with Al Mawlid al-Nabawi (The Prophet Muhammed’s Birthday). As Joseph Nasrani a syrian Christian told L’Indro in exclusive comments: “Even the Heavens are aligning … IF ever there was a sign that we all are worshipping the same God, only differently and according to different traditions that would be it. Christians and Muslims have lived together for centuries without animosity … it is Wahhabism which came to disrupt this unity, it them [ISIL aka Daesh] who came to breed hatred where there was harmony. I refused to let darkness taint the history of our beautiful Syria … I refuse to hate my fellow Syrians in the name of a vengeful religious monstrosity. Who are we to pass judgement on faith when all our prophets endured hardship for the Truth to shine?”

A young woman, Sarah Haddad, an art student turned rights activist explained how this year Syrians – including the expat community, have made a point at celebrating Christmas and Al Mawlid al-Nabawi together, using this opportune religious overlapping to seal interfaith tolerance. “people have this vision of Syria, and the middle East in general where communities are divided by this visceral religious hatred! People have been brainwashed into believing that Muslims and Christians are at each other’s throat all the time, looking to impose their beliefs on one another. Its really sad …. really, really sad because it could not be further from the truth. Syria has always been about peaceful cohabitation and religious harmony. Islam and christians and Muslims have lived side by side for over a thousand years … literally. Syrians account for the first Christians and the first Muslims. Do people know this at all? Have people looked at our buildings? They tell our common religious history, they speak of the faith and traditions we share … they speak of Syria.

Being Syrian means being all those different communities at the same time. It means that our identity is not one, but multitude – there, is the bound we share, and which makes us unique!”

Echoing some of Haddad’s comments, The Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation issued the following message this December: “Despite the ongoing war in Syria and the bad situation that its people are going through, Christmas Festive Spirit in Damascus are shining and spreading love and hope all over the city.”

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