A Word from the Christchurch and Ras Morbat Clinic in Aden [Archives:2001/05/Focus]

January 29 2001

On 1 January 2001, at approximately 0530, a bomb placed just outside the perimeter wall adjacent to the kitchen area of the church residence in Tawahi detonated. Fortunately the two people in residence at that time were neither killed or injured.
The property damage was extensive: window frames and glass on the ENTIRE side of the building were destroyed as was a large section of the perimeter wall. Doors were blown in and damage occurred to many items in the residence. It is estimated that cost of repair will be about $25,000 to $30,000 USD, money which we would much rather have been spent on resources: medicines, equipment and supplies which we use in the treatment and care of people who come to Ras Morbat Clinic for medical and eye care. Damage also occurred to people in the neighborhood, their homes and small businesses.
There is another kind of damage also. We are saddened by the fact that some apparently see the Christian Church of Aden and its community as an enemy of Islam. We, the Christian community and people, are not an enemy of Islam. The Church does not have a primary motive of changing Muslims into Christians as some declare. More than half of our staff of 25 persons are Muslim. Our staff are a diverse group of people who have learned to work with and care for each other in our common effort to serve the people of Yemen, and dialogue is a goal.
There are common enemies of Islam and Christianity, and to society in general: they are ignorance, unfaithfulness and selfishness – (use of resources for self-gain and benefit rather than for the common good) among others. Our scriptures, the Bible, teach us that we are to serve and care for one another, to visit the sick and those in prison; or to help the needy. Islam through the Quran declares respect for the “people of the book,” Christians, and to the prophets; Mohammad (PBUH) and Jesus (Issa) among them.
We appeal to all God-fearing persons to promote justice, kindness and caring for all people. The people and country of Yemen are beautiful and attractive in many respects, something to be treasured and developed for the good of all. We at Christchurch and Ras Morbat Clinic cannot believe that what has happened is representative of Islam or of Christianity. Further, as the world draws ever closer together with modern communication, it is necessary that all people learn to live with respect for each other, allowing all people freedom to follow the religion, culture and way of life of their own choosing. The Yemeni newspapers, and announcements from various agencies speak of democracy, fairness, openness: let it be in reality and not just in words. Mosques exist in many Western countries of the world; and we hope that this old Adeni church can exist in the city of Aden. References to past injustice, even hatred, are never useful. We cannot live in the past, we wish to live and build a better life and society with justice for all.
We at Christchurch and Ras Morbat Clinic intend to maintain our life and work here among the people who are our neighbors and friends. We thank you, those who have helped in cleanup and repair, and expressed their sorrow at this time. And we wish the very best for Yemen, Aden and its people.

Dr. Roger A. Bruggink
Pastor and Project Manager
(Christchurch/Ras Morbat Clinic) – Aden