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Christians in the Muslim World

Lebanon: What would be lost with the end of its plural society

President of the Union of Lebanese Catholic Journalists and spokesman for the Antonian Maronite Order  

We live in the middle of a Muslim world which unfortunately does not easily accept the kind of pluralism that has always characterised Lebanon. Indirectly and paradoxically it is almost as if Muslim nations on the one hand and Israel and the West on the other view Lebanon's plural society as an obstacle to their ambitions for power and control over the region, thus making them favour its break-up in many confessional statelets.



In such a plan Christians are a vexing factor because they have always been able to act as a bond between communities. Here in the same city, there are Muslims who live with Christians; there are also Druze who live with Christians, but it is only as a result of Christian mediation that Sunnis can live with Shiites. Here Christians de facto serve as mediators between people of different religions.



But today's world seems incapable of accepting and recognising the universal value that comes with a free plural society; actually it is almost as it feared it. This is paralysing our country which today is influenced too much by outside interests to the point that the Lebanese almost appear unable to decide their future all on their own.



Internal divisions within the country's various confessional communities characterises the current situation as well. Christians are no different for they too are divided between those who are more closely aligned with the West and those who feel closer to the East. This has led them to part ways over the future of the country,


Personally I am convinced and have no fear in acknowledging that the country's ongoing "chaos" is organised from the outside for the purpose of controlling this strategic piece of land within the Middle East.



The long and laborious process to elect a president is a demonstration that an attempt is underway to weaken the Christian community by politically marginalising it. If even in Lebanon Christians become politically irrelevant in promoting democracy, they can be as easily swept away here as they are in other countries of the region. We are caught between a rock and a hard place, between Sunnis backed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Shias supported by Iran and Syria.



It is high time for the West to own up to its own contradictions, spouting slogans and launching campaigns to defend human rights, whilst paying scant attention to the disappearance of entire communities in the East.