The Anti-Semitic Christian Influence On Muslim-Christian Dialogue

The document “A Common Word Between Us and You” released by Muslim clerics to the Christian world has a history that goes all the way back to November of 2004, even earlier.  After King Abdullah of Jordan released his “Amman Message” to unify world-wide Islam around the value of peace and the rejection of terrorism, a movement has developed with a life of its own.  As the Moderate Muslim World began to reclaim the heart of their religion, powerful forces hostile to Israel sought to reshape the Amman Message into a vehicle of propaganda in their quest to wipe Israel off the map.  The corrupting forces of this movement, unfortunately, have been led by Christians.  Below is a thumbnail sketch of the development of “A Common Word” and the role the Christian religious left played in making an effort for world peace into another strategy for destroying the Jewish State.


It is discovered that Ittijah, a coalition of Palestinian NGO’s, refuses to accept anti-terror clauses from American corporate donors. The International Christian Committee of Israel, ICCI, is a member organization of Ittijah. Bishop Munib Younan is President of the ICCI.1


King Abdullah of Jordan releases his “Amman Message,” repudiating terrorist attacks committed by Muslims against Jews and Christians. The letter becomes a catalyst for unity among Muslims and triggers the pursuit of International consensus among Muslims in the spirit of Abdullah’s vision. Abdullah does not point a finger of blame at America or Israel, but calls moderate Muslims to re-claim an identity of peace for world-wide Islam. He writes, “And as all True Islam forbids wanton aggression and terrorism, enjoins freedom of religion, peace, justice and good-will to non-Muslims, it is also a message of good news, friendship and hope to the whole world.” He also calls on all Muslim leaders to repudiate the use of violence in the name of God.2


Lutheran Bishop of the Holy Land and Jordan and Vice President of the Lutheran World Federation, Munib Younan joins hundreds of Muslim and Christian Clerics to celebrate the Amman Message of King Abdullah.3


Younan announces the “Amman Declaration,” a statement of full communion agreement between a number of denominations in the Middle East, including those in Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Hamas controlled Palestine.4


Hamas swept the Palestinian elections. Victor Batarseh, backed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Bishop Munib Younan, becomes Mayor of Bethlehem. Younan and Mark Hanson (President of the Lutheran World Federation) congratulated Hamas on their victory, offered their prayers for Hamas, and later bemoaned the fact that Israel and the World rejected the right of a terrorist group to be a recognized International power.5


Lebanon (Hizbollah) and Palestine (Hamas) launch a multi-front offensive against Israel with the support of Iran. Bishop Munib Younan engages in efforts with and for Hamas to negotiate the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Israeli concessions.6


The clerics who met in 2005 to commemorate King Abdullah’s “Amman Message” meet again to craft a response to the Pope’s anti-Muslim comments months earlier. The list of attendees grows to include more pro-militant Muslim Clerics along with the Anti-Israel Christian Clerics assembled by Younan with his “Amman Declaration” in 01/2006.7


Younan leads the Lutheran World Federation in funding and organizing a conference in Germany called “Life Behind the Wall.” The conference was about Zionism and was closed to all Jews. It was a repeat of the U.N. Anti-Zionism conference in Durban in 2000, and was similar in purpose and scope to other Anti-Zionism (read, Anti-Semitic) conferences held in Jerusalem at which Younan and his friend Na’im Ateek were in attendance in 2004.8


Younan lectures at Yale about the evils of Zionism.9


After months of work and several meetings at which Younan and his “Amman Declaration” partners were present, the draft statement “A Common Word” is completed. The meetings that started as a celebration of King Abdullah’s statement against terrorism had become dominated increasingly by Anti-Semitic forces. The very liberal religious left theological terms and formulations of the document further betrayed the claim that this was a statement of Muslims to Christians.  Anti-Semitic Christians played a key role in the writing of “A Common Word.” 


“A Common Word” is released to the World.


The World Without Zionism Conference in Iran is held, attended by some of the clerics of Younan’s “Amman Declaration”.10


 The response drafted by the “Yale” scholars who sponsored Younan’s lecture there only months earlier is signed by several Christian leaders, including some at Wheaton College.  One of the signers, Gary M. Burge, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton, serves on the board of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.  Munib Younan is also on that board.11


The clerics who had been meeting since the release of Abdullah’s “Amman Statement” meet again in Jordan to draft another list of statements focused primarily on the disposition of Israel.  The group seems to depart resolutely from King Abdullah’s intentions in his first statement against terrorism in 2004.  Conference attendees from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Land and Jordan reported that Bishop Munib Younan was lauded at the conference as an integral leader in the movement.12

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