ASIA/JORDAN - Religious proselytism in refugee camps: the Catholic Church stands off

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Amman (Agenzia Fides) - The initiative of Christians linked to evangelical groups that were filmed while distributing gospels and leaflets concerning spiritual reflection in the refugee camp in Zaatari, the main camp for the reception of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war present on Jordanian territory, continues to be at the center of a debate. The movie, on the internet, continues to provoke controversy and causes the stand off on behalf of Catholic Church responsibles: "you cannot bring provision and take advantage of that situation to distribute the Gospels" says to Fides Agency Archbishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. According to Msg. Lahham "in that way you are exploiting humanitarian initiatives to achieve forms of proselytism that have nothing to do with the dynamics of authentic Christian witness." The refugee camp in Zaatari started functioning exactly one year ago, July 29, 2012, with 2 thousand tents able to accommodate 10 thousand people. Now there are 120 thousand refugees, who represent the fourth most populous settlement inhabited in the entire Hashemite Kingdom. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 30/07/2013).