Gregory III: Democracy is built with peace. U.S. attack is a criminal act

Article from AsiaNews.it a Catholic media outlet focused on news from the Near and Far East.

H.H. Pope Francis and the Melkite greek-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and the Middle East, H.B. Gregorios III  Laham. Photo L'Osservatore Romano.
H.H. Pope Francis and the Melkite greek-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and the Middle East, H.B. Gregorios III Laham. Photo L'Osservatore Romano.

The Catholic Patriarch of Antioch calls on Western countries to listen to the Pope’s appeal. Armed action will destroy any possibility of future dialogue and reconciliation. The Christians will be ghettoized. Without them, there can be no moderate Islam. The disappearance of Christians is a threat for the West and the Arab world. 

 

Beirut (AsiaNews) - "We must listen to the Pope's appeal for peace in Syria. If western countries want to create true democracy then they must build it on reconciliation, through dialogue between Christians and Muslims, not with weapons. This attacked being planned by the United States is a criminal act, which will only reap more victims, in addition to the tens of thousands of these two years of war. This will destroy the Arab world's trust in the West", says Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkites. His appeal entrusted to AsiaNews comes just a few hours after rumors of an imminent United States attack against Damascus. The intervention is supported by other countries: France, Great Britain, Turkey and the Arab League. The religious leader has sent out Pope Francis' August 25 appeal to all of Syria's parishes.

"The voice of Christians - said the Patriarch - is that of the Holy Father. At this time we must be pragmatic. Syria needs stability and an armed attack against the government really has no sense at all".

"Every day - he explains - Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them"

Photo of jihadists in the town of Qusayr, thousands of Christians were froced to flee the town in the first part of 2012.
Photo of jihadists in the town of Qusayr, thousands of Christians were froced to flee the town in the first part of 2012.

Gregory III asks, "What or who have led Syria to this thin red line, this point of no return? Who created this hell in which our people have been living for months?". "Every day - he explains - Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them, even the U.S. has decided to send in more weapons." The prelate stresses that the planned U.S. attack will affect the Syrian population above all and is no less serious than the use of chemical weapons.

 

According to the Patriarch, Western countries continue to support a non existent opposition, which has no authority on the ground in Syria. "All preparation for the Geneva 2 Conference  - he said - has been stopped. The word dialogue is now forgotten. For months the Western countries have wasted time in discussions, while people were dying under Assad's bombs and attacks by Islamic al-Qaeda extremists." 

In 2012 the Christian districts of the old city of Homs were overrun by rebels leading to the flight of tens of thousands of Christians and the destruction of the area including its six churches. Above Our Lady of Peace Melkite Cathedral Bustan Diwan Homs
In 2012 the Christian districts of the old city of Homs were overrun by rebels leading to the flight of tens of thousands of Christians and the destruction of the area including its six churches. Above Our Lady of Peace Melkite Cathedral Bustan Diwan Homs

Gregory III warns that a possible victory of the Islamists will give birth to a country divided into small enclaves, which will force Christians into a ghetto. "Our community dwindles every day. Young people are fleeing, families leave their homes and villages." For the prelate, "the disappearance of the Christians is a danger not only for Syria, but for all of Europe." "Our presence - he says - is the essential condition for a moderate Islam, which exists thanks to the Christians. If we leave, there can be no democracy in Syria. This is supported also by the Muslims themselves, who fear the Islamist's madness . Many say that they cannot live where there are no Christians". (S.C.) Original article here.

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H.E. The Sunni Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun - I am the Mufti of all Syrians – Sunni Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze – of all the diversity of sects we had before the war. There is no choice other than reconciliation."

H.B. John X Yazigi, Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -

The Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch in Syria, John Yazigi, says Syrian Christians "will not submit and yield" to foreign-backed extremist militants who attack "our people and holy places."

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Sunni Grand Mufti of Lebanon - “Christians’ fears nowadays over their presence and their dignity in the Middle East are right and justified”

H.B Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - The West and other countries are helping to foment conflict in the Middle East "there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests"

H.E Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Deputy President of the Higher Shiite Council Lebanon - Called on the U.S to “work on giving people their freedom in Syria by refraining from supporting radical Islamists and criminals who are killing innocent people and violating their freedoms.

 H.B. Gregorios III Laham, Melkite greek-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - "Every day Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them."

H.H. Mor Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (R.I.P.) - "Syrians are the only ones who will decide their destiny, and that decision will be taken in Damascus, not in a European country."

H.H. Mor Ignatius Ephrem II Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -  “Christians and Muslims alike are exposed to a terrorist war in the region”.... the Patriarch denounced the silence of the world regarding crimes committed by armed terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

H.B. Youssef III Younan,  Syriac Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch - "We Syrian Christians, sold by the West for oil” - "Christians in the Middle East have not only been abandoned, but we have been lied to and betrayed by Western nations, like the United States and the European Union."

H.B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “Who appointed them [United States] as ‘policemen of democracy’ in the Middle East? ”

H.E. Maroun Laham, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan  - “This interest, on the part of the United States or of Europe, for human rights or for the defence of the weak, no one believes. No one believes it!,”

H.E. Jacques Behnan Hindo,  Syriac Catholic Archbishop ofHassaké-Nisibi (northeastern Syria) - Regarding the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabuis “Please excuse my expression. They are screwing all Syrians

H.E. Theodosius Hanna, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia (Nablus, Palestine) - "Will the displacement of Christians from Syria, their killing and slaughter and the destruction of their churches lead to an alleged democracy?"

Rev. Georges Massouh Antiochian Orthodox priest and director of the Christian Muslim Studies Center at Balamand University, Lebanon. "It goes without saying that Christians in Syria do not consider themselves greater or more important that their Muslim partners in the one nation. They find themselves in solidarity with all the people of Syria, in the calamities that they share and the strikes that fall upon all their heads."