The inauguration of the Middle East's Christians Conference at the Notre Dame University in Louaize, Friday, July 24, 2015. (The Daily Star/Maronite Patriarchate Bkerke, HO)
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Patriarch Beshara Rai pleaded Friday with rival political parties to name their final presidential candidates, in the latest bid by the head of the influential Maronite Church to break a deadlock that has left Lebanon without a president for more than a year.In the face of militant Islamist groups, namely ISIS, that are threatening the presence of Christians in Iraq and Syria, Rai said no one could uproot Christians from the Middle East region. Addressing the Middle East's Christians Conference at Notre Dame University in Louaizeh, Rai lamented that Parliament has failed after 26 aborted electoral sessions to elect a president, saying that political leaders were waiting for a final decision on the presidency from abroad. Apparently responding to militant Islamist groups who are threatening and suppressing Christians in strife-torn Iraq and Syria, Rai said no one could uproot Christians from Lebanon or the Middle East.The conference, which was attended by prominent Lebanese Christian religious figures and representatives of Middle East churches, was addressed by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who warned against marginalizing the role of Christians in Lebanon.
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