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» 06/07/2013
SYRIA - LEBANON
Al-Qusair churches show the signs of the war against Assad and of the religious hatred of the rebels
After a year of siege, only some 500 residents are left in town, with most houses now a pile of rubble. Its 3,000 Christian residents are gone, centuries of coexistence in ruin, with the St Elijah monastery desecrated by Islamist militias.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The battle between rebels and army for al-Qusair left the town in ruin, now reduced to a pile of rubble. Of the 30,000 residents, including some 3,000 Christians, who lived there before the start of the Civil War, only 500 are left. Images broadcast by the BBC show deserted streets, most residential and public buildings destroyed by mortar fire, or turned into weapons depots by anti-Assad militias, who occupied the town for over a year.

The siege did not spare mosques and churches that for centuries stood side by side, an example of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.

Several Orthodox and Catholics Christian buildings were desecrated by Islamist rebels, as several witnesses testified, including the BBC's Lyse Doucet, the first foreign journalist to enter in Al-Qusair.

In a report, the British correspondent describes the state of neglect of the Greek Catholic sanctuary of St Elijah, symbol of the local Christian community. In recent months, the rebels vented their rage at the building, riddled with artillery shells.

On the floor, dozens of religious objects lay, scattered. On the walls, a few icons and statues are still hanging, but most of them are defaced and slashed, a sign of wanton, not accidental destruction.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas Lebanon, said that for over a year there were no news about the Christian community of Al-Qusair.

"Most of them," he said, "fled when the city fell into the hands of the rebels in 2012. Unlike Muslims, many Christians have crossed the border with Lebanon. Most of the families however preferred to seek refuge in other cities or villages. " (S.C.)

Monastero Greco-Ortodosso di S. Elia  

Monastero S. Elia - Interno

Monastero S. Elia - Altare

Monastero S. Elia - altarino profanato

Monastero S. Elia - Messale profanato  


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See also
06/12/2013 SYRIA
United for reconciliation with Muslims, Christians return to al-Qusair
06/17/2013 SYRIA
Massacres by Islamic extremists bolster Bashar al-Assad
03/28/2013 SYRIA - LEBANON
"Weariness and resignation" among the civilians in war-torn Aleppo
by Fady Noun
01/02/2014 LEBANON - SYRIA
For Beirut Archbishop, Maaloula is sign of the crisis of Arab civilisation
by Fady Noun
07/19/2013 SYRIA - LEBANON
CNEWA's humanitarian fight for Syrian refugees

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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