BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hariri backs Eastern bishops' call to protect Christians

File - Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks to journalists in the Hague, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Thursday announced his full support for a call by the heads of the Eastern churches to the international community, and Arab and Islamic states in particular, to take swift action to stop the Christian suffering at the hands of jihadist groups.

“This is an outcry that should be heard by all leaderships, Arabic and Islamic organizations and the international community,” he said in a statement.

In response to a request by the Eastern churches for fatwas banning attacks against Christians, Hariri said Islamic institutions should implement the suggestion as it would promote moderation and justice.

The Future bloc head added that Islamic institutions were responsible for addressing intellectual and ideological heresy initiated by jihadist groups, adding that the terrorist mentality "damages the essence of the true Islamic religion, and attributes to Muslims everywhere the qualities of evil, injustice and aggression. "

Hariri called on the Arab League to shoulder responsibility and swiftly find a way to work with the international community in order to stop attacks in Iraq.

“In Lebanon we regard the statement issued by the Eastern bishops to be an outcry on behalf of all the Lebanese who refuse for their country to be anything but a civilized humanitarian space [open] to Christian and Islamic dialogue,” he said.

The heads of Eastern churches expressed outrage Thursday over the displacement of Christians in northern Iraq, appealing to the international community, and Arab and Islamic states in particular, to take action.

The patriarchs’ call came at the end of a meeting, held at the summer seat of the Maronite Church in Diman in north Lebanon, that was overshadowed by news of a fresh exodus of Iraqi Christians fleeing attacks by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Jihadists from ISIS took over Qaraqosh, the largest Iraqi Christian town, near Mosul and surrounding areas overnight Wednesday, sending tens of thousands of panicked residents fleeing toward the autonomous Kurdistan region.

 

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