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Interfaith Programs

Forum in Luxembourg on the Implications of the Crisis in Syria

Luxembourg - Mr. Thomas Schellen, journalist and author in the fields of religion and economics living in Lebanon, where he is also the president of UPF-Lebanon, gave a report at the Luxembourg Youth Hostel on Nov. 5, 2013 about the situation in Syria and the Middle East. Mr. Schellen spoke about the plight of the more than one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the danger that this represents for the future of terrorism in the region. He described this situation as a turning point for the Middle East. He also described the danger that the possible breakup of the nation states in the Middle East would represent for the region.

Mr. Schellen also referred to the difference between a turning point, or a decisive change in history as observed in hindsight, and a tipping point (moment of critical mass, threshold or boiling point). He also reported on the recent UPF conference in Jordan about the crisis in Syria, which concluded that the problem in Syria is an Arab problem which must be solved by the Syrians with the help of the Arabs and the international community, as described in the executive report on this conference. He also strongly warned against the West supplying arms to the rebels, because this would just be tantamount to pouring oil on the fire. Instead, it is necessary to cut off the supply of money, weapons and fighters, to the region and get the Muslim leaders to “dialogue the terrorists to death” proverbially speaking.

Mr. Erwin Franzen from Luxembourg, former journalist of the Middle East Times, also spoke about his past experience in the Middle East, during which he visited many countries in the region.

The conclusion was given by Dr. Frank Kaufmann, who has considerable experience in interfaith and other peace making activities throughout the globe. In answering a question from the audience, he testified to the importance of the Assisi process and explained that only religion calls for people to live sacrificially and for the sake of others, thereby making religion a vital voice in any peacemaking endeavor, because it is characterized by what is needed for reconciliation.

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