by praying and fasting in solidarity,” says Gregorios III.
On the eve of the beginning of the month of Ramadan this year, “a month of forgiveness, compassion, and generous giving,” His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, addressed his good wishes to Muslim communities. “Good wishes from an Arab Christian patriarch,” which require them to accept his bitterness even though he cites verses from the venerable Qur’an and the Holy Gospel: “Come to a common word,” (‘Āli `Imrān, 3:64) ; “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” (Al-Hujurat, 49:13); a verse to which Gregorios III adds the phrase “and love one another,” paraphrasing Saint John (13:35): “By this shall all men know that ye are [Muslims], if ye have love one to another.”
The patriarch continues by emphasising his pain and deep sorrow when contemplating the split Muslim world, “calling for jihad – though it is not jihad – issuing fatwas that are not fatwas…” and says he is “praying that God may anchor living faith in the hearts of Muslims… We need this faith in our Arab world so that it can be our charter, a charter for Arab unity, inter-Muslim unity, Muslim-Christian unity in the face of the tragic challenges that are rearing their heads against us.”
“Our unity must be Arab; the resolution of our crises has to be an Arab; our peace ought to be an Arab peace. Our past and our present are one and one cannot be without the other and neither can prevail over the other. Our future and the future of our young people is one! ‘…Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds…’” (At-Tawbah, 9:105)
“We Arab Christians are going to accompany your fast through prayer, fasting and solidarity… so that ‘ almighty and most merciful God, who understands everything, forgives and answers our prayers may restore to the Arab world peace, security, stability and prosperity, quietness and forgiveness, reconciliation and love.’”