- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A nonprofit that advocates for Christian engagement in the Middle East is planning to hold three summit meetings with Christian leaders in the region to promote religious pluralism and assist in the development of their societies.

The Philos Project plans to hold the first of its Abraham’s Missing Child Initiative meetings in September in Athens, Greece, the group announced Tuesday. The location and time for other two meetings have yet to be determined.

The initiative aims to bring the plight of indigenous Christian communities in the Middle East and surrounding areas to the attention of leaders. The effort seeks to build on multilateral efforts such as the Abraham Accords, the regional entente between the state of Israel and several of its regional Muslim neighbors.

“It’s encouraging to see an innovative new approach to promoting pluralism in the Mediterranean and the Near East. All of us in Greece understand well the word philos; Greece supports any effort to strengthen ties of friendship between Christians, Muslims, and Jews,” said Greek Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou.

Project President Robert Nicholson said indigenous Christian populations in the nations around Israel “have dwindled dramatically.” His group is a nonsectarian organization of Christians dedicated to promoting “positive Christian engagement” that creates leaders, builds communities and takes action in the region.

The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in recent years has threatened the survival of minority Christians who once lived in relative harmony with their Muslim neighbors in nations such as Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. Mr. Nicholson said Christians are regularly attacked in Iraq and Egypt, while Lebanon is in a state of chaos “with no end in sight.”

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• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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