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Expression of concern after attack on Christian community of Maghar

24 February 2006

Letter to the Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and
the Middle East, 24 February, 2005

Dear Bishop Riah,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We received your letter of 16 February and want to share our concern at the
news you relayed about the recent incident in the village of Maghar, Galilee.

As reflected in the resulting declaration by the Heads of Churches in the Holy
Land and also in press reports of the incident, the attack on the Christian community
of Maghar was very dangerous to them, destructive of their property and
gives cause for serious questions about law and order.

Especially troubling was the failure of the police, first, in not protecting the
citizens from attack and second, in not assuring their safety after the attack and
a secure return to their homes. The fact that the attacks were sparked by unsub-
stantiated rumours and then directed at a whole group solely on the basis of religion
further adds to the gravity of the event.

As your declaration states, at issue are the rights of the various communities
that make up Israeli society. We will raise this matter in our next meeting with
the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

We note that Greek Catholic Archbishop Georges Haddad, whose parishioners
were attacked, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, and yourself are seeking a meeting
with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Please keep us informed about further
developments. We look forward to an appropriate and effective response from the
authorities in setting this matter right and in maintaining order with justice in
the future.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary