Azad-Hye, Dubai, 26 May 2006: The Islamic Educational Scientific and
Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has chosen Aleppo as the capital for Islamic
culture for the year 2006 (Damascus is going to be the Islamic culture
capital in 2008).
Activities in this respect include holding various expositions and cultural
seminars in addition to screening of historical and documentary films on the
historical and architectural aspects of Aleppo.
As an integral part of the Syrian population, the Armenians in Aleppo also
are involved in this year-long celebration. One of the recent events was a
lecture delivered by Dr. Nora Arissian, the well-known scholar of oriental
research, on 20th May 2006 in "Aram Manougian" center, organized by the
Armenian Youth Union in Aleppo.
Dr. Arissian dealt with the subject of "The Armenians in the Syrian press".
A number of University lecturers, several press representatives (local "Al
Jamahir" daily and correspondents of pan-Arab newspapers, public figures and
a large number of people attended the event.
Dr. Arissian highlighted the participation of the Armenians in the Syrian
public life and society in general, a fact that has been obvious in almost
all economic and social fields. She referred to the tolerance of the Arab
majority towards the Armenians, a tradition that stems from the teachings of
the Holy Quran.
Based on her researches she pointed out to the Armenian themes published in
the Syrian press, arguing that they are echoes of the Armenian presence in
this country. She brought examples from known newspapers such as "Al
Shahba", "Al Mouqtabas" and "Al Asima" (the later was the formal
She said that although Syrians for a short period of time had their own
doubts about the wave of the Armenian refugees coming to their country
(especially in terms of employment opportunities and economic
competitiveness and hardships), nevertheless, the humanitarian aspects had
gained precedence and the Press of the time has echoed extensively to the
efforts of the Syrians to alleviate the burden on the Armenians and to host
them in the new environment. Especially the Government of the newly
appointed King Faysal (after the Ottoman withdrawal in 1918) has been very
much sympathetic towards the Armenian orphans and has provided aid to the
Armenian tradesmen to start their financial activity in Syria.
Dr. Arissian highly appreciated the stance of the Syrian Arab journalists
especially in referring to the plight of the Armenian people with boldness
and without any compromise. The bulk of these reports provide nowadays as a
rich resource for documentation on the subject of the Armenian Genocide.
At the end of the lecture Dr. Arissian mentioned the significance of the
decision for choosing Aleppo as a capital of Islamic culture, since it is a
city of tolerance and coexistence between different religions and cultures.
It can serve also as a best example of the harmonization of civilizations.
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