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Wednesday, January 03, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Rick Warren discusses Syrian/American relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

WM note: This is an interesting story that seems to have slid past me unnoticed. I belatedly offer it now for comments.

From the Syrian Arab News Agency website, SANA.Org:

DAMASCUS, (SANA)_ The meeting between President Bashar al-Assad and Pastor Rick Warren, a famous Protestant clergyman in the USA and an accompanying delegation on Sunday focused on the Syrian-American relations.

The American delegation stressed that the American administration is mistaken not to hold dialogue with Syria. The importance of dialogue among religions and achieving the just and comprehensive peace in the region which leads for stability and prosperity were emphasized during the meeting.

Pastor Warren hailed the religious coexistence, tolerance and stability that the Syrian society is enjoying due to the wise leadership of President al-Assad, asserting that he will convey the true image about Syria to the American people.

He offered to President al-Assad a memorial drawing as a gift to the Syrian people for their generosity and hospitality, thanking their efforts exerted for maintaining peace and harmony.

More from SANA.Org

American Protestant Pastor Rick Warren on Monday said there was no peace in the region without Syria, noting that 80 percent of the American people rejected what the US Administration is doing in Iraq and considered the US policy in the Mideast as wrong.

Syria's Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun received the American Pastor in Damascus in which he referred to the importance of spreading culture of amity, peace and coexistence instead of the 'clash of civilizations'.

The Mufti called for conveying the real image of Syria, national unity and its call to spread peace, amity and justice to the American people which the US administration has distorted their image before the world.

Pastor Warren expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country.

But according to Warren's damage-control press release following the meeting:
"...Contrary to reports by the official state-controlled Syrian news agency, Dr. Warren was in Syria to meet with and encourage the country’s key Christian leaders; dialogue with top Muslim leaders; and promote religious freedom. Leaders who met with Dr. Warren included the Patriarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church; the leader of the coalition of Evangelical Churches of Syria; and the pastor of the world’s oldest standing church dating back to 315 AD; and Mufti of the Arab Republic of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun..."

Listen to Rick Warren himself:

Click here to download the mp3

WorldNetDaily and GOPUSA seem pretty upset with Brother Warren. What is your opinion on this? Is it a big deal? Is it strange? Why do suppose loving, turn-the-other-cheek, conservative Christians like Joseph Farah and Christopher Adamo are coming out with such strong rhetoric condemning Warren? Why do you suppose the mainstream media hasn't really gone after this story?

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