- "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.)