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IMES Regional Brief – April 2019

In our brief for April 2019, we explore the recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory through the lens of faithful apocalyptic Biblical interpretation and two central principles of Just Peacemaking theory as developed by late Christian ethicist Glen Stassen. We also analyze the relatively weak pan-Arab media support for the uprisings in Algeria and Sudan and how we as the church can learn from this to critically view our own choices in ministry and with whom we as followers of Christ chose to empathize. For Lebanon and Syria, we focus on the same story, i.e. the return of Syrian refugees. But this time, we ask neither the international community nor ourselves whether or not they should return; we will ask the refugees themselves. At this juncture of the church’s relationship with Syrians in Lebanon, our primary role and one of the best things we might now do would be that of “restoring agency.” In Iraq, we examine the rise of the next incarnation of lethal jihadism among Sunni youth who are struggling socio-economically. Their situation calls for an aggressive socio-economic response on the part of the international community, and no less for churches worldwide who have a desire to work for the peace of our communities and the redemption of our world. The news from South Sudan is not the happiest in the world, but also the saddest. South Sudan is the youngest country in the world; it is also the unhappiest, according to the World Happiness Report. This leads us to the truth that although authentic joy is often offered in political promises, it is never guaranteed. God will forever be the only source of everlasting joy. In Egypt, we will examine the execution of nine convicts, convicted of murdering the former Attorney General of Egypt in 2015. The church, consisting of all denominations, does not agree on a unified vision regarding the death penalty. Whether for, against or neutral, the church is not absolved of its responsibility for establishing and promoting the concepts of love, grace and tolerance among the people.


Our Interests Determine the Stories We Tell

Recently, mass protests have demanded the departure of long-ruling presidents in Algeria and Sudan. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Algiers...Read More

South Sudan

South Sudan Is 2019’s Saddest Country in the World

On September 12 of last year, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President and opposition leader Riek Machar...Read More


Mass Murder or Achieving Justice? This does not Absolve the Church of its Responsibility

Arabic newspapers recently reported the execution of nine convicts, convicted of murdering...Read More


Avoiding the Rise of the Next Monstrous Incarnation of ISIS in Iraq May Require a Strong Socio-Economic Focus on Sunni Youth both there and Elsewhere in the Muslim World

Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq...Read More


Recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli or Syrian is about much more than Real Estate

On Monday, 25 March 2019 United States President Donald Trump unilaterally recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli...Read More


Restoring Agency before God

March 15 2019, marks eight years since the war in Syria began. The war was cataclysmic for the near and far...Read More


  1. Ash Atieh says:

    I think the danger of the decision of the Golan Heights will have a negative effect on the widen political gap between the West (mainly the US) and the East. Which will lead to kill a dying political peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately this gap is getting wider within the church in the west and the Middle East too, especially by some churches in the US being blindly supporters of any decision by the current US administration when it comes to Israel. From a spiritual lens I think the church in the west have to come to a prospective to rethink their theology about the fulfillment of the Book of Revelation and the raise of political Israel as a preparation of Christ coming, to a new prospective of building peace bridges between the nations. After all the church rule until Christ second come is save the lost souls in a falling and broken world instead of speeding the end of days.

  2. Ash Abuatieh says:

    As for the Golan Heights decision, from a political prospective unfortunately it is a new step to widen the political gap between the West (mainly the US) and East. Which leads to help killing an already dying political peace operation in the Middle East.

    This gap is getting to the core of the relationship between the American Church and the church in the Middle East, especially with many churches in the US are chosen to take a side and blindly supports to the current administration in the US when it comes to Israel.

    The danger of this relationship between the church and the government in the US is to add a Christian cover to such a decision, and lead to the spread of the theology of preparation for Christ second coming by the raise of political Israeli state based on a mistakenly wrong reading of the Book of Revelation.

    I think the church in the US need to come to a new prospective of reading and understanding to the Book of Revelation focusing in building peace bridges between the nations instead of taken sides in a very complicated conflict. After all, the church rule in a broken and falling world is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and to His witnesses to the others. This chaotic situation should give the church every chance to reconcile the nations in Christ by saving the lost souls instead of focusing on preparation to the end of days.

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