The Right Reverend Riah Abu El-Assal says “Jerusalem and what is happening in Jerusalem has become very central. And if we can reach the point where there is peace in Jerusalem, in my opinion, and I say it humbly: peace will come to the whole world.”
He is the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem. He is an Arab, a Palestinian and a passionate worker for peace in the Middle East.
Riah was born in Nazareth. When the State of Israel was created in 1948, Riah was 12 and happened to be on holiday in Lebanon with his family. Overnight the family became refugees and it took Riah’s father 10 years to obtain legal permission for the family to return to their home in Nazareth, which had become part of Israel.
Riah was educated in the European tradition in the 1960s. He attended Bishop’s College in Calcutta and the United Theological College in Bangalore. Throughout his graduate studies in the 1970s and following his ordination as an Episcopal priest, he studied Islam. On a visit to America in 1995 he said, “I’m a member of the Arab nation, predestined to live with Islam and they with us. If we want to continue to live in the Middle East as Christians, we need to have a better understanding of Islam.”