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2018-08-29T000000Z_622105460_RC1D695F6A70_RTRMADP_3_UN-CONFLICT-WELBY header.JPG
UK News

Justin Welby admits mistake over refusal to meet Palestinian pastor

by Tola Mbakwe

Justin Welby admits mistake over refusal to meet Palestinian pastor


The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed deep regret over his initial decision not to meet with well-known Palestinian pastor Rev Dr Munther Isaac due to him speaking at a pro-Palestinian rally where Jeremy Corbyn also speaking.

Rev Isaac, the pastor of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran church in Bethlehem, is well-known for his criticism of Israel's actions in Gaza. His Christmas sermon, where he suggested that if Jesus Christ was born today it would be under rubble, went viral.

The refusal was first revealed by Rev Isaac in an interview with The Guardian. Most Rev Justin Welby has since apologised on X and stated that he looks forward to meeting Rev Isaac next week.

“I apologise for and deeply regret this decision, and the hurt, anger, and confusion it caused,” he stated. “I was wrong not to meet with my brother in Christ from the Holy Land, especially at this time of profound suffering for our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters.”

Rev Isaac responded graciously to this apology, expressing his anticipation for their meeting as "brothers in Christ".

According to The Guardian, Archbishop Justin had originally been advised against the meeting due to potential issues it could cause in his relations with the UK's Jewish community.

His U-turn has received a mixed reaction online. Brendan Cox, husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, praised the archbishop’s public apology as a sign of a "reflective and thoughtful leader".

However, in a letter to The Church Times, members of Christians for Palestine UK described the initial decision as "appalling". They criticised the Church of England's position on Gaza as "equivocal and misguided".

When revealing the cancellation initially, Rev Isaac had initially branded the archbishop’s decision to cancel the meeting as “shameful”, criticising the Church of England for dancing around positions and lacking courage.


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