Home > Synod > 2010-10-13 17:41:42
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Intervention of Mr. Harés CHÉHAB, Secretary General of the National Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue (LEBANON), auditor

It is paradoxical to see that these Christians, which are a constituting part of this East, long before Islam, are presently facing a deadly dilemma, to choose between disappearance and isolation which would bring an end to their historical role and their mission.
The acuity of this problem continues to intensify to take up its whole vastness during the last decades which saw our region gradually empty itself of all its Christians, who had, however, contributed so much to the elaboration of its civilization, and were always the pioneers in the battle for its freedom, its ascent to modernity. This exodus cannot in any way be attributed to purely economic reasons, otherwise the whole region would have been depopulated, and it is obvious that discrimination, persecution in certain areas, fear in others, the lack of freedom, inequality of rights are the basis of this movement.

Any questions relative to the future of Christians in our region lead us to lean towards a certain number of questions that are closely linked, to begin with inter-religious Dialogue, where is it now and what are its horizons, what the relationship between Religion and State is, or in other words, between the spiritual and the temporal, laity, freedom, extremism, fundamentalism, terrorism, so many aspects that are equally covered by the media.
Unfortunately, the talks and multiple conferences dealing with Islamic-Christian dialogue whose success depends in large part upon the stability of the presence of active Christians in our region, do not give a primary place that its subjects merit; they are satisfied with putting the accent on the points of convergence, certainly useful, but hiding the problems, or in the best of cases approachin them timidly, have not allowed our cause to progress, it is, rather, to the contrary. The gains earned remain fragile and fade at the first sign of serious difficulties. And this is how the pit was dug deeper and deeper between the tables for the Conference on Dialogue, and the daily life, and where the literature utilized and convergence on certain points do not find a way towards practical application.
This is why the style should give way from now on to another form where the language of complaisance would be banned, to focus especially on truth, no matter how hard it is, but with Love and sincerity, having the concern to sensitize the Muslim in being aware of the reality of our problems, and this, in the mutual interest of all the sides and in our region.
We should intensify the holding of congresses, of meetings, to lead the participants to face these thorny questions. Up until now, and even in the papers prepared by the Muslim experts in view of the Synod, the remarks do not go beyond the classic and traditional viewpoint, in a rapidly changing society, and whose problems relative to its multi-cultural and multi-religious characteristic are so complex. Also, to recall a chronic problem dating back several hundreds of years, therefore well before the birth of the Israeli-Arab conflict, to the support that the West brings to Israel, and in confusing the Christians with the West, reveals the will to hide the real causes of the problem.
But parallel to this, there is a growing action by many Muslims who, true to their faith and religion, do not stop proclaiming that they refuse and prohibit such acts. At the same time, on the level of States, we can see a tolerance that, certainly, has not reached the level we would hope for yet, but that still leaves us with a note of hope for the future.
No matter what, we are determined in Lebanon, Christians and Muslims, to go forward, to consolidate our common life and to face together the threats represented by the extremist currents, fanaticism, integralism that refuses the right to any differences, conscious of the difficulties but decisive in the task of achieving the transmission of our message of life in common.

[00079-02.05] [UD001] [Original text: French]


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