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Intervention of Gregorios III LAHAM, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, Archbishop of Damascus of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)


Peace, conviviality and the Christian presence in the Arab world are tied in an existential and solid way. The Christian presence in the Arab world is threatened by the cycles of war that fall on this region, the cradle of Christianity.
The main reason is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the fundamentalist movements, the Hamas movement, the Hezbollah are consequences of this conflict as well of internal dissension, slowness in development, the rise of hatred, the loss of hope in the young who constitute 60% of the population in Arab countries.
The emigration of Christians: Among the most dangerous effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: emigration which will make Arab society a society with only one color, only Muslim, faced with a European society also known as Christian. Should this happen, should the East be emptied of its Christians, this would mean that any occasion would be propitious for a new clash of cultures, of civilizations and even of religions, a destructive clash between the Muslim Arab East and the Christian West.

Trust between East and West: To convince Christians to stay, we think it is necessary to address our Muslim brothers to tell them with honesty what our fears are: the separation of religion and State, the Arabicity, democracy, Arab nation or Muslim nation, human rights and laws that propose Islam as the only or main source of legislation which are even an obstacle to the equality of their own citizens before the law. There are also fundamentalist parties, Islamic integralism, which have been blamed for acts of terrorism, for killings, for burning churches, for extortion, in the name of religion and strong here being the majority humiliating their neighbors.
To make peace, this is the great challenge: This is the great “jihad” and the great good. This is the true victory and the true guarantee for the future of freedom, prosperity and security for our young, Christians and Muslims, who are the future of our Nations.

[00052-02.03] [IN030] [Original text: French]



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