Arabic Heritage League Award for Parramatta's Bishop Manning
Bishop Kevin Manning received the 2006 Kahlil Gibran International Award at a celebration on Sunday night to mark the 25th anniversary of the Arabic Heritage League in Australia.
Bishop Manning shared the 2006 prize with Dr Kamal Sabbagh, a musician and composer who lives in Paris and Ms Nadia Jamal, a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald.
The President of the League, Mr Kamel El-Murr, said the Arabic Heritage League was founded in 1981, beginning its work to honour people who have achieved distinction in their field of endeavour.
"The Arabic Heritage League was concerned with the immigrants' experience who escaped oppression and despotism," Mr El-Murr said. "They sought here a noble living and a stable life both of which were denied them in their homeland."
Bishop Manning said he was deeply honoured to receive the award, not only for the personal recognition, but for the recognition given to the positive role of religion in developing a culture of peace and harmony in the world.
He spoke of the need for many Australians to learn more about the contribution of Arab culture to our society and of the need for interfaith dialogues, particularly Christian-Muslim dialogue.
"Your organisation is one which models the fact that Christians and Muslims work together for a common purpose," Bishop Manning said in his acceptance speech. "It is in this context that the Arab Heritage League has a role to play in building harmonious relationships between our two communities."
He said that cultural awareness and exchange fosters respect and understanding and an understanding of culture facilitates better interfaith relations.
"Although your activities are not, in essence, theological," he said, "it is certain that faith is mediated in culture; and if we understand the general culture, then we will be enabled to understand the faith elements mediated through that culture.
"There is a great responsibility on all of us to work together so that extremists, whether Christians or Muslims, do not wrest the agenda of peace and make of it a program of violence, conflict and division."
Bishop Manning said he was bishop of a diocese which is enriched by many Christians of Arabic heritage, some of whom were born in Arab countries and who contributed greatly to the Church in Australia.
Bishop Manning receives Arabic Heritage League Award (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 8/5/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Kevin Manning (Diocese of Parramatta)
Bishop Manning named a "Champion of the West" (CathNews 6/4/06)
9 May 2006