A road to Damascus

by Dennis Coday

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This is a little dated, but still relevant I think because of its clarity of thought and the invitation at the bottom.

Gabe Huck, the longtime editor at Chicago-based Liturgical Training Publications and a not infrequent contributor to NCR and NCR projects, sent us a copy of this open letter to Pastor Terry Jones, the now infamous preacher from Florida.

The letter comes from Fr. Elias Zahlawi, an Arab and a Roman Catholic priest, in Damascus, Syria.

Here's my favorite part. Zahlawi writes:

I invite you [Pastor Terry Jones] to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people. ...

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus. ...

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

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