» 08/28/2013 SYRIA - LEBANON Gregory III: Democracy is built with peace. U.S. attack is a criminal act 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.
- "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.
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".
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
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.
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. "
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
Many say that they cannot live where there are no Christians". (S.C.)