Expelled Syrian Jesuit Priest to Visit MPAC on 8/1

July 30, 2012

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, the Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest who was expelled from Syria in early June for opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, will meet with the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s senior leadership.

SEE: “Syria Expels Jesuit Priest who Spoke for Change” (New York Times)

For more than a year, Syria has been trying to expel Dall’Oglio, who has promoted interfaith relations in the war-torn country. When he held a memorial service last month for Bassel Shahad, a young opposition filmmaker who was killed in Homs, the Syrian government forced him to leave. He left behind Deir Mar Musa, the monastery he built 30 years ago and has made into a center for interfaith dialogue.

“MPAC is honored to host a meeting with such a powerful voice of change, peace and love,” said Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC President. “Father Paolo was expelled from Syria for fighting for the rights of all people, regardless of their faith. He is a model for positive Muslim-Christian relations in the Middle East and worldwide.”

There is much more the international community can do to alleviate the situations in both Syria. Putting politics aside and focusing on the human need for security and freedom should be the top priority.

ALSO SEE: “MPAC Commends U.S. for Expelling Syrian Diplomats” (mpac.org)

The violence continues in Syria with the U.N. estimating that more than 9,000 have been killed, though other estimates put it as high as 20,000. Innocent civilians are being targeted for abuse, kidnappings and murder by al-Assad’s military for joining the uprisings for freedom.  This weekend, Khaled al-Ayoubi, the Syrian Charge D’Affaire, the most senior Syrian diplomat serving in London, resigned saying he was "no longer willing to represent" al-Assad's regime. He is the most prominent Syrian diplomat to turn his back on the Syrian president during the 16-month rebellion.

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