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Arkansas Catholic
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March 10, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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March 10, 1991
 

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l iddle East may be in worse shape after War, analysts say I~ Jerry Fd~u Washington (CNS) - The Persian Gug War ~ght solve the most immediate problem of .~li aggression, but it may well leave the un- ,~t~g conflicts in the region in a worse state ~an before, three analysts told a national I~thering of Catholic social justice workers in Vashington. 'The political price the U.S. is going topay" [ %Uld last "for decades, even ~enerations, said ~I~Wahid Shah, editor of Eastern Times and a gddstani-bom Muslim. U.s.-Israeli relations "are very likely to be ~Uch worse off" in years to come, said Rabbi I~Vid Saperstein, director of the Religious Ac- ti~a Center of the Union of American Hebrew %agregation He also warned that "the traditional way America rewards its friends is, it arms them." If the U.S. decides that the way to contain any future Iraqi threat is to arm Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other allies, he said, it could set the stage for the annihilation of Israel. Hehir suggested that for furore peace in the Middle East, Catholic social teaching focuses on four issues that must be addressed:justice, peace, human rights and international order. In the field of justice, the Palesfinian-Israeli issue must be resolved in terms of rights of self- determination and autonomy, and the rich-txx)r gap in the region must be dealt with, he said. He said that nuclear proliferation is a key issue because the region has several stateswhich either have tile bomb secretly or are on the threshold of nuclear capability. Human fights issues must be dealt with 'haot only.on the West Bank, but also in the House of Saud," he said. priests link Palestinians Rev. j Bryan Hehir, social policy consultant ithe U.S. Catholic Cor~brence, said a major Israeli relations tor affecting the furore of the Middle East is e change in the U S-Soviet supe~r rela-By John Tbav~ ~p since 1989. "The US. and the Soviet . nion will still be relevant powers in the Middle Rome (CNS) - Most Italian priests think ~but not in the same way as they used to the Vatican should establish diplomatic re- '%' he said. lafions with Israel, but in connection with a The Muslim, Jewish and Catholic analysts solution to the Palestinian question, ac- ~l~ke at a workshop during a conference Feb. ~-27 celebrating a century of Catholic serial k'aching. Shah, who was highly critical of U.S. involve- ~eat in the Gulf, said Iraqi Pres. Saddam ~sein had lost the military aspect of the %nflict but sc0red a psychological and political tory. the'The first casualties (after the war) will be House of Saud and the House of Sabah," ~.~b~i'd, referring to the ruling families of Saudi ia and Kuwait. He said he was disturbed to see the "near %et~fimity in the Western press" in War as a disaster for the Palestinians 'in fact, It ~rves to revitalize the Palesfinians," he said Fie said the perception of the war in the I~Ittslirn world could lead to "the Islamizafion of the Palestinian cause, bringing hundreds of ~.e~. s of non-Arabic Muslims to identify the e~inian cause as an Islamic cause, not just Arab cause Fie compared Saddam's military 1o~ with the ~ac~of Texans by Mexican ~ at the in 1836. He asked Americans to con~der that Saddam has "galvanized Muslim public ,~l~inion at the grasswoots" and may be remem- in the Middle East the way Davy Crockett ts remembered by American~ Saperstein said Middle East peace prospects complicated by a ,failure to have dealt with Certain jusdce issues' in the same way as they dealt with in other parts of the world. Fie dted "the disparity between the rich and the poor" within the region as one neglected ~SUe. Another issue, he said, is 'qaow do we, espe- we-in the Jewish and Christian traditions, with the most entrenched form of apart- today, the apartheid against women" prac- in the Arab states. He said Westerners must al with that in a way that simultaneously re- ~a~x,,"the fundamental religious integrity of ,. A third issue, he said, is that the Middle East t~ teetering on the edge of environmental Ca tastrophe...If the water crisis is not solved, Mthin a decade it will tear that region apart." The Palestinian issue must be solved as well, ~hPemein said, "just for Israel's own security. e Palestinian issue remains an albatross arOUnd its neck." cording to a recent poll. The survey showed the priests believe the fate of Palesdnians in Israeli-occupied terri- tories is the major single cause of hostility toward Jews today. Results of the poll were published in the Italian weekly, Panorama. Asked whether the Vatican should estab- lish diplomatic relations with the state of Israel, 51 percent of those sampled said yes. But two-thirds of the priests said such recognition should be linked to resolving the Palesfinian situation. Currently the Vatican does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, although it says it de facto recognizes Israel's existence and /ts ~ for security. The Vatican has dted difficulties that need clarification be- fore diplomatic relations are established. They include Israel's occupation of Middle Eastern territories and its relations with Palestinians, the Israeli annexation of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and the problems faced by the Catholic Church in Israeli-oc- cupied areas. The priests were also asked about popu- lar impressions of Pope John Paul II, who spoke out forcefully against the war in the Gulf. Two-thirds of those surveyed said the pope could not be described as partisan to the Arab muse. More than half the respon- dents said it was accurate, however, to say the pope was partisan to Third World cause~ Nearly 60 percent of the priests surveyed said there was little or no probability that the Gulf war would help bring about solu- tions to Middle Eastern problems. The survey of a sample of 302 priests was conducted by SWG, an Italian research firm. "Sunmfit," from page 11 This causes'problems in trying to solve the Palestinian and Lebanese problems, he said. Teissier called for new Christian dialogue initiatives with "moderate Muslims" who favor democracy and see the Gulf crisis in political and economic terms instead of religious one~ Sabbah also asked for renewed efforts at dialogue with Judals ARKANSAS CATHOLIC 10, 1991 PAGE 11 : -t II Ted Tamberg/North Carolina Catholic/CNS Lebanese-born Wael Masri teaches Arabic phrases to students. Religious education program highlights Arab world By Ted M. Tamberg wanted the kids to come away with an over- all feeling that these are nice people who Raleigh, NC (CNS) - Tfaddal, an Arabic do some nice things" expression of welcome to friends and Lebanese-born Wael Masri, who taught strangers, inspired religious educators at St. Arab words at the event, told the North Francis of Assisi parish in Raleigh to expose Carolina Catholic, " I love you' and 'peace' their students to the people and culture of were very popular words.... It was a little the Arab wodd. more difficult to tell the ones who wanted The parish center was decked with tents, to know how to say 'cool' and 'dude'." palm trees and flags of Arab nations for Some children, Masri said, "asked me "One in the Spiri Hate the War Not the about ~esus' and 'Christ' and how you say People." those words. They were surprised to hear A prayer service for peace preceded the that 'Allah' is not a foreign god, but just the event, with Pat Kowite, parish religious edu- Arab word for God. It is the same word cation director, leading 100 students in the used by Arab Christians and Arab Muslinm" response "We believe in one God, let there Sharon Ardolino, a parishioner of Leba- be peace," after each petition for peace, nese descent who taught students a Leba- Kowite told the children that "We believe nese dance called the debke, said, "Some of in one God" is a common prayer thatthe boys were a bit hesitant to dance, but Muslims, Jews and Oaristians use in wet- when they heard that twirling the handker- ship. chief during the dance was a sign of man- Each child also received a heart-shaped hood, they really got into twiding it around." prayer token during the service. Remind- Palestinian-bom Sawsan Mustafa said ing them to keep the token in their pocket, students "were surprised by such similarities Kowite said, "Each time you feel the token, in the things kids do over there and here .... you can remember to pray, believe inThey were very exdted to know that Arabs one God, letjhere be peace'." also had Pizza Hut and Nrmtendo." The idea for the event came from an Egypdan parishioner who is helping a par- ish-sponsored Kuwaiti family, ii~i!~iil "He told me of the custom of welcom- ing strangers," she said, "and I thought it seemed so much of a Christian spirit that this is what we should be letting our kids know. We wanted to get away from the media image of Arabs as terrorist~... We "That Arkansas Wine..." eder eh I Rhea Drug Co.- 2801 Kavanaugh Blvd. Little Rock ] 663-4131 "~ Free Delivery ,t ~! ASHER * A~IER & UNIVERS~'Y i K-MART ~.HOPPING CENTER / U'mE R~OC~ ~=~ou~s.s 722o4 l 568-0021 H. 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