His Holiness stressed the necessity of facing the challenges created by the enemies of the nation through belief in God and preserving the national unity
Damascus, Syria - 24 October 2010: His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, stressed the necessity of facing the challenges created by the enemies of the nation through belief in God and preserving the national unity, pointing out that Muslims and Christians in Syria live as brothers and will work hand in hand to protect their homeland.

His Holiness was addressing a huge number of scholars, thinkers and researchers from Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Turkey and Syria those attending a conference started on Sunday organized by the Ministry of Islamic Endowments of Syria on "Role of Scholars in Controlling Religious Discourse and National Unity" in Damascus.

Minister of Islamic Endowments Mohamad Abdul-Sattar said in his speech, "Preserving the unity of the nation is a moral and religious duty. Heavenly messages, with their purity and essence, are one and came from one source. They all seek to achieve human happiness".

The Minister warned against attempts to sow discord and disagreement among the sons of the nation through an approach that mixes friends with enemies and diverts attention from the real battle with the Israeli enemy and its allies.

He called for tuning religious discourse that supports tolerance as an urgent necessity and shifting it to an effective speech that rehabilitates the nation to top the human society.

He highlighted that the Syrian society is a model for tolerance and fraternity.

For his part, Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun underscored the importance of the enlightening role of scholars in finding means to achieve Arab unity and put out the fire of sectarian sedition.

Mufti of Egypt Dr. Ali Goma stressed the importance of the conference in achieving the unity of Islamic rank which is a religious duty, particularly at this time as enemies of the nation are trying to fabricate disharmony in it.

Iranian Ambassador in Damascus Sayyed Ahmad al-Mousawi talked about the significance of religious discourse in facing the cultural invasion which aims at introducing Islam to the world as a religion of violence and terrorism.

He pointed out to the role of scholars in diagnosing weaknesses and removing them.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem highlighted the importance of unifying efforts to face the challenges which are threatening the whole nation.

Secretary-General of Ahlulbayt World Assembly Mohammad Hassan Akhtari pointed out to the importance of the conference in unifying the Islamic nation and enhancing its harmony, calling for dialogue and co-understanding on several issues.

Vice President of Turkish Religious Affairs Akif Aydin pointed out to the responsibility of scholars towards national unity through working to remove all differences and disagreements and enhancing the values of tolerance and group cooperation.

For his part, Dr. Mohamad Said Ramadan al-Buti underlined the importance of national unity in these current circumstances to stop the Israeli attempts of cultural invasion against Muslims and their unity.

The two-day conference will discuss the dangers of satellite channels, sectarian broadcasting, media, conspiracies, confusing resistance with terrorism and other topics.