Lebanese President Aoun: "What is happening in the Middle East is aimed at driving Christians out"
(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)
Beirut - M. E. TIMES Int'l: "Jerusalem was the land that preached peace and love to the world. Is it acceptable to become as it is today? Is it acceptable to become homeless? We have lived in this region and transferred civilization to Europe and the world," Lebanese president Michel Aoun said. "What is going on in the east has significant political goals, which are emptying (the land of) Christians and dividing the region into states." He pointed out that "migration from the east began a long time ago, especially from Israel where 1 percent only is left from the 22 percent of the Christian population in Jerusalem. In other cases - especially in Syria, Iraq and sometimes in Egypt, Kenya and Libya - a group killed Christians as well as Muslims and destroyed churches and mosques alike.”
President Aoun stressed that "Lebanon can be a global centre for dialogue between religions and civilizations and this is because it includes the religions and doctrines of the world and its sons live together therein”. “To this end, we must lobby everywhere that, if we raised this case before the United Nations, we can have its consent. We can announce it but that's not enough because we want Lebanon to be an official international centre for dialogue, not just a state initiative", he said.
"We may disagree sometimes on the political level - and some believe that the conflict is Christian-Islamic - but the fact is different" he said. "None of the Muslims has fought for Christians to embrace Islam nor did Christians fight to convert to Christianity. From this point, we shall make it clear to the world that we still enjoy the highest stage of civilisation in terms of freedom of belief and the right to be different which may reach us more chaotic than any country in the world."
In an interview with television during Easter , President Aoun said "The resurrection is what we all wish after death, and this is the hope and foundation of the Christian faith." Without it (The resurrection) there is no Christianity according to St Paul".
On the basis of the Lebanese presence strengthening and the Christian role in the Middle East, President Aoun stressed that "the capabilities in Lebanon are still many, whether scientific, religious or literary and in all sectors of thought, writing and science”. “It is that we are invading the word, if this word is true, considering that the Lebanese are everywhere and in the most important positions. We do not lack science, but a little discipline." He revealed that "a great cleric in the east, who assumed the presidency of the republic, assured him that the east is the cradle of religions and the essence of meetings and Lebanon is the pearl. So if we do not play this role, we are failing our intellectual and other obligations.”
To a question on his role as the sole Christian president in the Arab countries with a mission to promote understanding and coexistence amid what is happening, Aoun said: “We have a vital extension in this Levant, and the atmospheres were agitated in the region. Therefore I started visiting countries that should be friendly and restored ties to normal. God willing, we will continue in this direction.”