Jan 1, 2020, 1:46 PM
Journalist ID: 1842
News Code: 83616451
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Priest: Unlike Arab states, Iran sees Christians equal with Muslims

Beirut, Jan 1, IRNA – A Lebanese priest Antoine Dhoey said on Wednesday Iran sees Christians equal with Muslims, but other countries think that Christians must be deprived of civil rights.

Antoine Dhoey made the remarks in a meeting with the Iranian cultural attaché in Beirut.

He said that the Arab countries do not respect equality of Christians with Muslims.

Dhoey said that he repeatedly visited Iran, adding that the first time he visited Iran he saw a warm flexible society, but people of many other countries don't know it.

He said that Iran and Christians should adopt a new approach to communicate with people of the world. Iran could establish a big civilization after advent of Islam.

Reverend Dhoey, who has many articles about Islamic figures, said that he talks with the tourists about Imam Ali (AS), the first Imam of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) Infallible Household;  Imam Hussein (AS), the third Imam of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) Household and Fatimah bint Mohammad (AS), the Great Prophet's daughter.

He said that because he is a Christian, his words are more effective about Islamic figures than Muslims', adding he urges Christians to read and research about Imam Ali and Imam Hussein.  

He said that the eastern Christians have a deep sentiments toward Ahl al-Bayt (the Household of Prophet Mohammad).

"Nahj al-Balagha is our book too."

Nahj al-Balagha is part of sermons, letters, and narrations of Imam Ali (AS).

He said that when he visited the Shah's "beautiful" palaces in Tehran, he felt he doesn’t belong there, but when he visited Imam Khomeini's residence in Jamaran, northern Tehran, he felt that he was in Jesus Christ's house in Nazareth, Occupied Palestine.

"I felt that I am close to Imam Khomeini and that he was the leader of the deprived and the poor people of the world."

He added that Christians support the relations between Iran and Lebanon. Unfortunately, Islamophobia is stirred up but our duty is to defend Islam. More than one fourth of the world are Muslims. If Islam is annihilated, we will be annihilated as well; we will be dissolved in the materialist world.

Iran's cultural attaché in Lebanon, Abbas Khameyar, said in the meeting that the presence of Christians has further beautified the Middle East, and that the peaceful coexistence should be preserved.

Khameyar added that Iran hosted Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Cardinal Peter Turkson a while ago, as a part of dialog between religions. He also said that he has invited Cardinal Boutros al-Rahit to Tehran to see how Christians live in Iran.

He said the Iranian constitution has given equal rights as Muslims to Christians.

Khameyar gave the book "Christianity in Iran" and" the Night of Decree in Christianity" to Reverend Dhoey.

Laylat al-Qadr, or the Night of Decree, is, in Islamic belief, the night when the first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

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