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Jordanian 'Karama' initiative seeks to spur interfaith dialogue

Work is under way in Jordan to kick off an initiative to promote mutual respect among religions and disseminate a culture of dialogue and tolerance across the region, organisers said.

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Organised by the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Centre -- a group founded by government representatives and Christian and Muslim leaders to call for peace and coexistence -- the Karama (Dignity) initiative is set to start in January, they said.

Karama "seeks to confront hatred, strengthen the culture of dialogue and the Christian-Arab presence, and emphasise the importance of the religious pulpit in this regard", Rev. Nabil Haddad, the centre's executive director and founder, said at a press conference in mid-October. "The pulpit is one of the most successful means to entrench dialogue, religious coexistence and acceptance of others among people of the same society," he said.

The initiative, which will bring in representatives from across the Arab world and a slew of religious and cultural institutions including Al-Azhar, will feature lectures, seminars and workshops by religious scholars and academics.

It will kick off with a two-day conference in January and include activities such as sit-ins and gatherings to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.

Rev. Haddad said it was crucial to confront extremist ideologies in the region via collective action and by rewarding the voices of moderation and coexistence.

"Jordan is a leader and engine of [moderation and coexistence] owing to its distinguished record which affirms its respect for all components of society," he said.

Combating extremism
Jordanian Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs spokesman Ahmed Ezzat said his ministry backs the Karama initiative, which focuses on promoting the noble values of each religion.

The ministry constantly works to support such efforts as well as educational campaigns conducted at Qur'an learning centres that raise awareness about the principles of moderation, he told Al-Shorfa. Hassan Karirah, director of preaching and guidance at the ministry, described Karama and the ministry's support for the centre and other similar activities as crucial.

The ministry supports efforts to "promote the values of tolerance and introduce the Amman Message" -- a message released by King Abdullah in 2004 calling for peace and tolerance in the Muslim world, he said. This message affirms the true image of Islam, which calls for moderation and acceptance of others, he added.

The ministry, in collaboration with churches and other religious centres, also has begun preparing for numerous events to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, which is scheduled for February, he said. Karirah said the ministry, in the context of its support for the Karama initiative, is guiding imams to focus in their sermons on the true image of Islam, on promoting moderation, and on rejecting extremism, fanaticism and terrorism.

Academic and sociologist Hussein Khuzaie said Jordan has distinguished itself in the region in terms of religious coexistence among Muslims and Christians.

Implementing this initiative helps increase awareness among members of the community and stresses rejection of extremism and terrorism, he told Al-Shorfa.

There is a pressing need for such initiatives, Khuzaie said, particularly in light of the current situation in the region and emergence of groups that could draw youth to extremist views.

Statement from OSMTH on the bombing of school in Potiskum Nigeria

Statement from Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH) on the bombing of school in Potiskum Nigeria. (–New York, United States of America and Geneva, Switzerland, November 11, 2014 )

Brigadier General Patrick Rea, the Grand Master of OSMTH, speaking on behalf of OSMTH’s 23 member nations has expressed condemnation of the November 10th bombing attack against innocent school children in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum.

Col Dr Marcel de Picciotto, Grand Commander of OSMTH and chief of Mission at the United Nations in Geneva, indicated that the world’s leaders and humanitarian organizations must heighten their attention and support towards ending this violence directed against Nigeria’s most vulnerable. He further emphasises that targeting children never serves any cause and is a direct violation both of human rights and of the word of God.

OSMTH works with and through other Chivalric Orders, the senior leadership of different nations, and with other Non-Governmental Organizations [NGO] in order to provide humanitarian aid and other involvement in resolution of serious humanitarian needs or conflict.

Pray for Peace

Almighty God from whom all thought of truth and peace proceed: Kindle, we pray thee, in the hearts of all people the true love of peace, and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth;

We pray for the United Nations Organization; National Leaders, The International Peace Bureau, and all whose work it is to give leadership in the world: Fill their minds with the knowledge of your peace; Give them courage and strength to move forward to deal with terrorism, conflict, anger, war and all that breaks down the harmony and love in the relationships of nations and people.

Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen

And we pray for all whose lives are affected by war and conflict; People whose lives and livelihood are at risk; Refugees, those made homeless, those living in the midst of battle; our Armed Forces and their families; families separated from each other; the wounded and the oppressed and those who have lost loved ones; the medical people and care givers; and Lord, we pray for ourselves that we may do our part;

Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen

Joint NGO Statement

GENEVA SWITZERLAND (15 SEPTEMBER 2014)

The Third Phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training Delivered at The UN Human Rights Council 27th session (8 - 26 September, 2014) Under Agenda Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development Read the report.

 

OSMTH cosigned this report.

French Muslim leaders denounce ISIS brutality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ORDO SUPREMUS MILITARIS TEMPLI HIEROSOLYMITANI (OSMTH) APPLAUDS THE STATEMENT AND ACTIONS TAKEN TODAY BY FRENCH MUSLIM LEADERS IN THE DEFENSE OF CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

Among the cosignatories, are Dalil BOUBAKEUR, Rector of the Paris Grand Mosque and President of the French Council of Muslims (an officially recognized representative organisation) and Patrick KARAM President of the Coordination of Christians in danger in the Middle East. It states the leaders "denounce without ambiguity the terrorist acts constituting crimes against humanity and solemnly declare that these groups, their supports and their recruits cannot quote Islam". The statement further says " Barbarians are perpetuating the worst crimes against humanity and currently threaten the populations as well as stability and peace between peoples in all the region".

Read the full statement

OSMTH wishes to extend its gratitude and support to these enlightened leaders of one of the sister religions of The Book.

Col. Dr. Marcel de Picciotto
International Grand Commander V
OSMTH (Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem)
A United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation in Special Consultative Status
A Member of the International Peace Bureau

CoNGO E-Newsletter August 2014

Use this link to read the CoNGO E-Newsletter August 2014

An OSMTH Prayer for Peace in all the world

Almighty God, the Creator of all, we, of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, remind ourselves daily that the Psalmist of old bids us to “PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM AND THE PROSPERITY OF ALL PEOPLE”

With broken hearts, bruised bodies and wounded souls, we come before you praying for peace to reign in the hearts and minds of all people.

Remembering, that we are Born of God, Redeemed by Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Help all nations and peoples to put away the crimes of war, the battles of bitterness and cruelty one person to another.

Help us to see all people as the great family of God; in a fellowship of peace with love one for another in the dignity of your created form.

Lord Jesus, you died in the midst of crisis on Calvary’s Hill. You were laid in the Sepulchre of Jerusalem and rose above it all to free us from sin and death.

Let us now as Children of God, Sons of Abraham, People of Faith be dead unto the sin of warfare and alive in a new life of peace and unity.

This prayer we offer through Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace and the author of our salvation.

And to that we say Amen, Amen and Amen.

A Palestinian Litany from Jerusalem

By Bishop Munib Younan

Almighty and eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we glorify and praise you. You are our only refuge in this troubled world.
We glorify and praise you, our God.

Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem you became one of us, sharing and understanding our humanity, our suffering and problems.
We glorify and praise you, our God.

We thank you that you took refuge to Egypt, identifying yourself with all who are refugees and victims of the political power.
We thank you, our God.

We thank you that you grew up in Nazareth and ministered to the people in Galilee, and spread your kingdom in a new way.
We thank you, our God.

We thank you that you were crucified in Jerusalem, identifying yourself with every person who suffers and lives under occupation and injustice. On the cross you carried the sin and the suffering of all human beings and reconciled us with you and with our fellow human beings.
We thank you, our God.

Our Heavenly Father, we come before you with all the troubles and pains we are experiencing here in the Middle East:
Lord, have mercy on us.

We pray for all the victims of the injustices and violence in present situation. We pray also for those who are responsible for injustices and all forms of violence.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We pray for our laborers who cannot enter to their places of work. We pray for our youth who are loosing their hope for the future.
Lord, have mercy on us.

We pray for our mothers who are fed up with bloodshed, killing and the use of arms. We pray for the bereaved families, who lost their dear ones. We pray for the quick recovery of the injured. We especially pray for the those who have to live with permanent disability.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Jesus, our Savior, our eyes look to you, our only help in these troubled times:
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray, that you open the eyes of the world and of Israelis and Palestinians for justice and reconciliation. Help us all to see that the security and freedom of the one people is depending on the security and freedom of the other.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for the politicians, that they may realize that the security and peace we all long for will not come by the use of arms and force, but by having justice done so that the two peoples can reconcile and together work out an equitable coexistence for the future.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, you have called us to be your followers. Give us your love for our fellow human beings. Free us, and our children, from hatred, bitterness, and the denying of the rights of others; and fill us with love, truth, justice, so that we can recognize and respect the dignity and the rights of one another.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, you have shown us that forgiveness is not forgetting ones rights but asserting them. We know that forgiving is to see Christ in our enemies, and to love them as our neighbors. Help us Palestinians to see you in the Israelis, and help the Israelis to see you in us. Lead us all to affirm and respect that our humanity is a gift from you, as we are all created in your image, and give us courage to mutually recognize each other’s human, religious, civil and political rights.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Holy Spirit , giver of life and new beginnings, help us to faithfully respond to God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Help us to find ways of encouraging people to open their hearts and confess their part in the past injustices and find ways to build a just and secure future for our children. Give us wisdom and courage in this difficult task. When the pressures of the situation make us despair, come with your Holy Spirit and renew our strength and hope.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Sustain with your power those, who in the midst of all difficulties quietly are building the culture of reconciliation, justice and peace. They may not be many right now, but we remember that the work for God’s kingdom among us, started with only a handful faithful and committed people.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Come, Healing Spirit , and change us and open ways for us to change others. Remove all injustice and fill our land with just peace. Remove all hatred and fill us all with true love.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Remove all insecurity and bring in real security. Remove all occupation and bring in freedom for all.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all.

Merciful God, accept our prayer and yearning. You are the only strength we have. No one can take the power of prayer away from us. In the name of Jesus – our Liberator and Redeemer – we pray.
Amen

OSMTH expresses its concerns...

OSMTH expresses its concerns for the civilian populations over the current war in Gaza and Israel and all those in the Middle East.

(The first of a series of OSMTH statements of concern for different parts of the world)

Geneva, July 31, 2014. OSMTH wishes to express its solidarity with all the civilian people from both sides who are suffering from the current situation. OSMTH is deeply saddened by the continued escalation of military operations in Gaza, the physical devastation, the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, including whole families, as well as the increasing number of rockets striking the Israeli territory and people. OSMTH does not think that collective punishment of civilian populations, and especially children, will achieve gain for either party involved in the conflict. As each day passes, more innocent civilians are being killed. We call for an immediate ceasefire by both sides.

There seems to be no definitive military solution to this almost 50-years-long conflict. All parties must accept that lasting peace can only be achieved through peaceful means.

The human needs in Gaza are immense. We hear the cry of doctors and nurses overwhelmed by the flow of casualties. Today’s news reports suggest that more than 1400 Palestinians have been killed. Civilian displacement has also risen sharply. UNRWA is presently providing shelter to over 200,000 people.

The current war is a result of decades of political failure. An end to the violence must be followed by genuine dialogue and renewed negotiations addressing the root causes of this conflict. A durable peace will only be achieved by seeking together common paths towards reconciliation and peace, and through a genuine commitment to creating the basis for future generations of Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace in mutually recognized countries.

With all these sacrifices, the hearts of Israelis and Palestinians risk being filled with new hatreds. The war is once again feeding anger and violent extremism, with consequences in the whole region and even worldwide.

Therefore, OSMTH urges both sides to take a step aside and consider the right to forgiveness. Fathers and mothers have been killed in the past. Now, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters from both sides are being killed, persecuted or displaced . Only the right to forgiveness will help our grandsons and granddaughters live in peace with mutual respect of each other.

OSMTH fully supports the efforts of the United Nations and other committed international organisations, governments, religious organisations, and other civil society organisations wishing to help establish a durable and just peace for all in the Middle East

ICRD Templar Update

This article is very much worth the read. The ICRD (International Center for Religion & Diplomacy) is truly one of our most valued and internationally recognized cooperative NGO’s with OSMTH on the world scene. Both Chev. Dr. Johnston, President of ICRD, and The Rev. Chev. Canon Brian Cox, Senior Vice President of ICRD, are exceptional world leaders in faith based diplomacy. In fact, Canon Cox delivered a number of key presentations at the recent GPUSA annual C&I. It was also he that asked OSMTH to host the Copenhagen-Syrian Conference hosted by GP Denmark about 70 days ago which was attend by many to include Princess Elizabeth, Ennio Senese, Duke Alexander zu Mecklenburg, Tom Curtis (GPUSA), Lars Karstensen (GP Denmark) plus a number of Knights and Dames from Denmark.

Read the update

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OSMTH’s raison d’etre is expressed through the Brussels Declaration: “Aiding humanity on the pilgrimage through life.”
Vision and Commitment
  • Christian Ethos, Spirituality and Chivalric Values.
  • Domestic Charity and International Humanitarian Aid
  • Human Rights and the respect for Human Diversity
  • Interfaith Dialogue and Bridge-Building
  • Provide humanitarian aid to Christians and all peoples in need around the world, through physical, financial, and moral support.
  • Continue programmes that aid Christians around the world, especially in the Holy Land.
  • Promote a dialogue based on the principles of peace and justice amongst and between the faiths of the Sons of Abraham and the other great religions of the world, to establish better understanding and greater tolerance.
  • Mitigate human suffering by actively participating in activities associated with disaster relief, humanitarian aid, human rights, peace building and sustainable development, and the respect of human diversity.
  • Facilitate, mediate and advocate conflict-prevention and resolution by providing subject matter experts and supporting organizations in the fields of religious and international diplomacy.
"Non nobis, Domine, non nobis,
sed nomini Tuo da gloriam..."
 
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