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Christians Victims of Sectarian Conflict. And of Themselves

According to the patriarch of the Maronites, Middle Eastern Christians are paying the price of the sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shi‘ites. Lebanon has not yet descended into open warfare, but Christian politicians have allowed themselves to be drawn into the sectarian rivalry that threatens the very existence of the country and its formula. The situation is worsened by the devastating effects of the war in Syria and the unmanageable influx of refugees. Lebanon need to be saved so that it can fulfill its historic mission.

Interview with His Beatitude Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï


by Maria Laura Conte and Martino Diez



Middle Eastern Christians’ requests for aid from the West are becoming increasingly urgent and dramatic. But what do they need most according to your experience?



Wherever situation is tense here in the Middle East, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Syria, people are pleading not to be left alone, not to be forgotten. For this reason, what they appreciate most is when someone, a bishop or a cardinal, takes the trouble to visit us and offer encouragement: this helps to dispel the feeling of being abandoned in the sea of Muslims among whom they live and where they are most vulnerable. This is most evident among the displaced and refugees, together with the request for concrete help to enable them to return to their country, and to regain their future and dignity. It must be said that, thanks to international solidarity on so many levels, it has been possible to make significant progress over the last year: in Iraqi Kurdistan some one hundred and fifty thousand refugees and displaced people lived for months in tents or unfinished buildings without doors or windows, sometimes even without walls. But now the situation is much improved and many have been supplied with caravans or housed in more dignified structures. But we cannot stop there. The situation on the ground remains difficult: the Holy See and the Church in Europe must pay more attention to Christians in the Middle East.



Far too often they are spoken of as an endangered minority, almost as if the West has given up on them.



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