Episcopal Church releases statement of concern for Palestinian Anglican woman, other Palestinians detained by Israel

By Shireen Korkzan
Posted Jun 19, 2024

Layan Nasir, a member of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in the occupied West Bank city of Birzeit, is under administrative arrest by Israel. Photo: post on X

[Episcopal News Service] Layan Nasir, a 23-year-old Palestinian Anglican woman, continues to be held in administrative detention without charge by Israel after her arrest in early April, according to a June 18 statement released by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations

We are deeply concerned about the manner in which Layan Nasir was taken, her ongoing detention, and the broader system that means many thousands of Palestinians are kept in administrative detention for months,” the statement said. 

Back in April, Nasir’s mother, Lulu Nasir, told Sky News that soldiers arrived at the family’s home at 4 a.m. on April 6 and threatened them with guns as they searched the house before taking her daughter into custody.

Nasir is a member of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in the occupied West Bank city of Birzeit. No timeline for charges, trial or release have been set in her case.

“We echo the Archbishop of Canterbury’s concern about her detention and the prayers of other bishops around the Anglican Communion who call for her release, and for us to acknowledge the plight of all detained Palestinians,” the statement said. 

Israel has allegedly arrested more than 9,000 Palestinians from the West Bank since the Israel-Hamas war started in October 2023, according to Addameer, a Palestinian nongovernmental organization based in Ramallah in the West Bank.

At its April meeting, Executive Council urged “the end of the continued detention of thousands of Palestinians without charge, as particularly highlighted by the case of Layan Nasir.”

The Episcopal Church has been in touch with Nasir’s priest, the Rev. Fadi Diab, and with her family, as well as other Anglicans in the West Bank, according to the statement. The Washington, D.C.-based Office of Government Relations is advocating for Diab to be able to visit Nasir and for her family to be able to communicate with her.

The church’s statement also advocates for Episcopalians to acknowledge “the plight of all Palestinians” and calls for “immediate and sustained ceasefire, full humanitarian access, and the release of all hostages.”

Executive Council also in April voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution lamenting the ongoing deadly violence in the Holy Land since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Hamas fighters stormed communities along Israel’s southern border with Gaza, killing more than 1,000 civilians and taking more than 200 people hostage. Israel retaliated by waging war against Hamas. The ongoing war has so far resulted in the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians and at least 1,700 Israelis

At least 16 resolutions related to the Israel-Palestine conflict have been proposed for the House of Bishops’ and the House of Deputies’ consideration during the 81st General Convention, which will take place June 23-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. The most closely watched resolutions likely will be A010, which would label Israel an “apartheid” state for its treatment of Palestinians, and D013, a potential compromise resolution that addresses more broadly the decades-old conflict and recent violence.

 -Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service based in northern Indiana. She can be reached at skorkzan@episcopalchurch.org.