Man of Peace

King Abdullah II and Bishop Dr Younan at the 3 September award ceremony. Photo: ELCJHL
King Abdullah II and Bishop Dr Younan at the 3 September award ceremony. Photo: ELCJHL

LWF President Younan Honored for Middle East Dialogue Efforts

JERUSALEM/GENEVA, 12 September 2013 (LWI) – The President of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, has been honored by the King of Jordan for his efforts towards peace, co-existence and interfaith dialogue between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.

In a 3 September ceremony in Amman, Jordan, Younan, who is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, was awarded the Al-Hussein Decoration for Distinguished Service, First Class by King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The medal recognizes achievement in philanthropy, the arts, science, education, commerce, or public service. Younan received the medal during a conference hosted by the king entitled, “The Challenges Facing Arab Christians.”

During the Amman conference, Younan noted that Muslims and Christians needed to be working side-by-side to help promote stability and moderation in the region.

“This engagement is not just for religious understanding but for shaping our shared political future,” he said, adding that Arab Christians must refuse all types of division in society, whether along sectarian or religious lines.

King Abdullah II urged continuing interfaith dialogue. “Arab Christians are the closest to understanding Islam and its true values. We call upon them at this stage to defend Islam, which is subject to a lot of injustice because some are ignorant of this faith, which preaches tolerance and moderation, and rejects extremism and isolationism,” the king said.

In June 2013, the LWF Council approved a resolution on the Christian presence in the Middle East and their efforts to bring peace and justice to all.

 “The Christians in this region see their Muslim neighbors to be, like them, children of God and therefore reject forms of understanding the Muslim world that attempt to separate Muslims and Christians from one another as if they are not neighbors,” it said.

The 2013 LWF Council also issued a statement on freedom of religion or belief, and recommended “Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders” as a tool for receiving refugees and other displaced people in communities. The affirmations were an initiative initially suggested by the LWF president during the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Dialogue on Faith and Protection Round Table in December 2012 and subsequently developed by the UNHCR with contribution from the LWF. 

Consult “Welcoming the Stranger,” and LWF Council 2013 resolutions and statements