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» 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.

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".

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. "

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.)

 


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See also
04/11/2006 SYRIA
Easter message of Gregory III urges charity, resurrection for peace for all Arabs
by Jihad Issa
01/16/2014 SYRIA
Appeal by Gregory III for a global campaign of prayer for peace in Syria
by Fady Noun
12/27/2013 SYRIA - MIDDLE EAST
Gregory III urges Christians in the Middle East not to emigrate
08/03/2012 SYRIA - ISLAM
Gregory III Laham: Christians and Muslims pray and fast together for an end to violence
03/18/2015 SYRIA - LEBANON
Gregory III Laham: as Lebanon closes borders, the plight of Syrian Christians gets worse

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by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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