This year, more than any other year, media sources controlled by Hezbollah have broadcast displays of Christmas celebration. On Christmas Day, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Nour radio station took the occasion to praise Jesus Christ’s birth, and chose to broadcast religious songs following a political decision made by Hezbollah.
The party’s main TV channel (Al Manar) did the same. It dedicated a share of its programming to wishing Christians well on the day celebrating of the birth of Christ. Moreover, its news bulletins included positive media coverage of Christmas celebrations. They highlighted Hezbollah’s participation in these celebrations through talks on the place of Jesus, the son of Mary, in Islam.
It is true that these programs emphasized the use of the terms “Prophet Jesus” or “God’s spirit,” in a display of their conservatism vis-a-vis the Christian consideration of Jesus as God or the son of God. However, Hezbollah’s media intended to downplay this “ideological and religious controversy,” and instead focus on the party’s participation in the celebration of this important holiday with Christians in the East.
Even the Iranian embassy in Beirut distributed congratulation letters on the birth of “Prophet Jesus son of Mary.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM AL MONITOR: THE PULSE OF THE MIDDLE EAST
NEWS ABOUT EGYPT FROM THE REGION
By Rami G. Khouri
The tumultuous road to a stable democratic system of government in Egypt
is passing through one of its most decisive stages these days, with most of the main political actors revealing their amateurism more than anything else. This is a hard but necessary learning process, as the main protagonists refuse to accept that hard-line and absolutist positions are inappropriate during this delicate transition.
For all the heartening talk about their shared commitment to democratic pluralism, the dominant Muslim Brotherhood and most of the other leading Egyptian political groups are demonstrating the problems arising from a fast transition from autocracy to democracy, without a transition period in which people and organizations learn how to function in a democratic system. Personality has much to do with this.
The Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have spent much of the last 25 years in and out of jail were catapulted into the presidency without any previous experience in managing national politics. President Mohammad Mursi is revealing his inability to act as the president of all Egyptians and the shepherd of a historic constitutional transition in which basic governance institutions are being built. Unlike Nelson Mandela who spent decades in jail and then showed his compassion, flexibility and statesmanship when he became president of South Africa, Mursi seems focused on pushing through his agenda (presumably also the Brotherhood’s) and is unable at this stage to act as the magnanimous leader of all Egyptians.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY STAR (LEBANON)
Rome, Italy, Sep 10, 2012 / 12:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians and Muslims will come together for a prayer vigil on Sept. 12 to invoke the protection of God and the Virgin Mary over Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to the country this week.
Vatican-based Fides News Agency reported that four processions of young people will converge upon the “Garden of Mary” in Beirut’s Museum Square on Wednesday.
At 8 p.m. local time the vigil will begin, with Christian and Muslim readings and prayer asking God to bless the Sept. 14-16 papal visit.
The Secretary of the Commission of the Lebanese Bishops’ Conference for Dialogue with Islam, Father Antoine Daou, told Fides that the title of the initiative is “Together in peace, love, freedom and security.”
“It will be a national and popular holiday, to show to the world that Lebanon can be in this moment in history the Country of coexistence between Christians and Muslims,” he noted.
Representatives and leaders from all the religious communities in Lebanon, as well as thousands of the faithful, are expected to participate in the vigil.
FULL ARTICLE FROM DFW CATHOLIC.ORG
Hundreds of people protested in Lebanon Sunday against the country’s sectarian political system.
The protesters in Beirut carried signs and chanted slogans calling for a secular government.
Lebanon’s power-sharing system requires that the president be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shi’ite Muslim. Each religious group makes up about one-third of Lebanon’s population.
The system is unlike many Arab countries where authoritarian regimes have ruled for decades. But the protest appeared to be inspired by the wave of uprisings across the Middle East. Protesters used the social networking website Facebook to help organize the event.
FULL ARTICLE FROM VOICE OF AMERICA