Good wishes from H.B. Gregorios III for Eid ul Fitr 1435 A.H./2014 A.D.
At the end of the holy month of Ramadan and on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr, we send to all our dear Muslim brothers and sisters, particularly to their leaders, kings, princes and presidents in Arab countries and the world over, every good wish and our sentiments of sincere friendship and brotherly love.
Eid ul Fitr falls amidst particularly difficult and dramatic circumstances throughout the world and in particular in our Arab countries: beloved Syria and suffering Iraq, bloodied Palestine and Gaza, not to mention Morocco, Egypt, Yemen and the Gulf States. Everywhere blood is flowing, desolation spreading: places of worship, mosques and churches alike are being destroyed; sacred human rights and dignity have been violated, and freedom and honour trampled underfoot, undermining all the human, artistic, technical, moral and religious attainments of our civilisation.
We Christians and Muslims have forged this Arab civilisation together and experienced it in mutual respect. Of course, from time to time there have been dark clouds and crises known to us all, but we have gone beyond them and courageously forgiven. Since then, we have gone together along life’s road, living together, building together and developing together.
We offer our good wishes to our Muslim brothers and sisters with wholehearted friendship and fidelity, even as we weep for innocent victims both Christian and Muslim, women and children, old folk and youngsters, who are dying every day. Their blood drenches squares, streets, homes and places of worship in our towns and villages, mingling as they lie, intertwined in death as in life, like their history, civilisation, culture, literature and poetry, the beauty of their churches and mosques and their architectural and artistic masterpieces.
On the occasion of Eid ul Fitr, we urge our Muslim brothers and sisters to unite to save Islam and Muslims from enemies both within and without that lie in wait for them in the Muslim Arab world and elsewhere. We assure them that we are alongside them and that, like them, we are concerned for Islam’s teachings and values to be kept pure. We Arab Christians are most sincere defenders of Islam, because we know that we are together; preserving our inheritance and common history for we Christians and Muslims are one another’s best warranties.
We appeal to the conscience of Arab and European societies and to the international community, for us to stand together as one, in the face of the takfiri elements that are making inroads into our Arab countries, disfiguring Islam, driving Christians into exile, inciting to murder, humiliating, massacring and so emptying the Arab world of Christians, thereby impoverishing Muslim society by depriving it of their contribution, services, schools, institutions and everything they have brought to the history of the Arab East, cradle of religions and civilisations.
As an Arab patriarch who trusts this Muslim Arab world and is chary of its dignity, we add our voice to those of our fellow patriarchs and all religious leaders, including our Pope Francis, to say with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue:
“Let us work together, then, to build bridges of peace and promote reconciliation, especially in areas where Muslims and Christians together suffer the horror of war. May our friendship inspire us always to cooperate in facing these many challenges with wisdom and prudence. In this way we will help to diminish tension and conflict, and advance the common good. We will also demonstrate that religions can be a source of harmony for the benefit of society as a whole.”
And we repeat the terms of our joint Muslim-Christian pledge:
We Muslims and Christians ought to stay together to build a better world together for our rising generations and our joint future.
We Muslims and Christians can stay together to build a better world together for our rising generations and our joint future.
We Muslims and Christians want to stay together to build a better future together for our rising generations and our joint future.
With our affection, prayer and esteem, we offer you our good wishes for the Feast
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem