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WCC staff member appointed minister in Lebanese transition government

19 April 2005

World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia today congratulated WCC staff member Dr Tarek Mitri on his appointment as minister of environment and administrative development in Lebanon's transitional government.

Highlighting that the appointment "is an honour, first and foremost to him, but also to the World Council of Churches," Kobia said: "We are happy for Dr Mitri that he can serve his country in this noble way at a critical time in Lebanon's history."

As programme executive for inter-religious relations and dialogue, Mitri has been responsible for Christian-Muslim relations in the WCC since 1991. A Lebanese member of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, Mitri holds a doctorate in social sciences from the University of Paris X-Nanterre.

He has researched, lectured and published in Arabic, French and English in the areas of Christian-Muslim relations, modern history and the sociology of Christians in the Muslim world, and ecumenical relations.

In his latest book, Au Nom de la Bible, au nom de l'Amérique (In the name of the Bible, in the name of America), published by Labor et Fides in 2004, Mitri analyzes how American society has reacted to Islam and Muslims since the dramatic events of 11 September 2001 and why the war against Iraq has divided Christians.

Mitri will be on leave of absence from his post in the WCC until after Lebanon's general elections, scheduled to take place in approximately three months' time.