BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called on Eastern and Western states to stop funding terrorism Sunday, urging them to stop sending militants to battle in Iraq and Syria.
Rai renewed his appeal to the international community to stop providing terrorist organizations with money and weapons.
The patriarch also urged states to stop “sending mercenaries to demolish, murder and displace” innocent citizens in Syria and Iraq.
“The Arab League, the United Nations, the Security Council and the International Criminal Court should join the fight against terrorist organizations and protect religious minorities," Rai said during Sunday Mass in Diman.
Rai urged international organizations to help the Christians of Mosul return to their homes and to ensure the protection of all their rights.
Rai said that he is set to visit Christians expelled from Mosul and Ninevah in the next couple of days.
Regarding Lebanese soldiers and policemen captured by Syrian militants during the Arsal clashes, Rai prayed that "God would enable the government to liberate detainees from the military and Internal Security Forces."
The patriarch lauded the principles of diversity and coexistence that are characteristic of the National Pact Saturday night, saying that all components of Lebanese society constituted an added value to a united national fabric.
“The National Pact is like the spirit of the Lebanese entity,” Rai said, highlighting that it was based on a rejection of religious theocracy as well as atheistic secularization.
The patriarch spoke on the core principles of the National Pact, saying that the Lebanese had embodied all its components through an equal power-sharing formula between Christians and Muslims in the fields of governance and administration.
Rai said Lebanon “is fully independent, with an Arabic identity and belonging.”
“ Lebanon collaborates with Arab and foreign countries while keeping a balance between both,” he said, adding that Lebanon granted neither camps guardianship nor privilege over the country.
During a graduation ceremony hosted in Biel in Downtown Beirut, 70 students from the Lebanese diaspora were awarded certificates that allow them to receive Lebanese citizenship from the respective embassy or consulate in their home country.
“Citizenship will give you and generations after you, all civil rights, and will keep [official] records of your names,” he said.
“The immigrant cannot be equal to the deceased,” Rai added, saying that members of the Lebanese diaspora ought to be recorded in official records.
Lebanon's National Pact, set up by Christians and Muslims in 1943, is a charter that lays down the principles of coexistence between the two religions.