2011 (EN)

With this message, we would like to bring to your attention some very disconcerting news regarding Father Paolo dall'Oglio, the Abbot of the Mar Musa Monastery in Syria and winner of the first Anna Lindh EuroMed Award 2006 for Dialogue among Cultures on the theme of Mutual Respect among People of Different Religions or Any Other Belief. As reported by many sources, the Syrian government has ordered his expulsion. (See: AsiaNews, one of the most important international Catholic News Agencies, Famiglia Cristiana, the most important Christian magazine in Italy, as well as the Aljazeera blog and news (video in Arabic with Greek subtitles). Many young Syrians who acknowledge him for his mission in support of fraternity, respect and dignity, have launched a Facebook page in Arabic named "No to the expulsion of Father Paolo", supported by thousands of people. We have spoken to him personally. He is in good health but concerned about the possibility of an expulsion, which would put an end to more than three decades of living in Syria. For those who are not familiar with his work, the Jesuit priest, Father Paolo, is a renowned proponent of dialogue between Christians and Muslims and has relentlessly worked for inter-faith harmony in the country for the last three decades. He has been committed to efforts for internal reconciliation, based on negotiation and freedom of expression, particularly in the current crisis, taking a courageous stance against the repression of protestors (see A Letter from Father Paolo to the Syrians, in Arabic).The Anna Lindh Foundation and the Fondazione Mediterraneo applaud the example of Father Paolo and support his unrelenting work. They would like to call upon all of you to support his humble but unwaverving commitment for reconciliation and his intercultural mission in Syria and the whole region, for which he deservedly earned the 2006 Anna Lindh Euromed Award. We would be grateful for any initiative you might take for the safety and work of Father Paolo, especially by urging the appropriate instances in your respective countries to take action in favor of his mission, in the context of what is being done in defense of human rights and dialogue in Syria.

Video 1

Video 2

The Euromed Award to Father dall’Oglio