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A group of liberal-minded Muslim and Christian Lebanese professionals and academics has written an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing grave concern about the latest persecution of Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul by the "Islamic State".Confronted with forced conversions, or a humiliating life of collective submission, or the sword, Mosul's Christians have naturally opted to leave just as other Christians in neighboring hotspots have done before them. This time round, however, it is unconscionable that the international community would stand idly by and allow the wholesale destruction of rooted communities solely because of their religious beliefs. All this was made possible thanks to Lebanon's distinctive climate of personal and societal freedoms that has set the country apart in a positive sense from its largely freedom-starved Arab surroundings.The best way to undermine extremism's culture of violence and death is to strengthen and celebrate the universal values of human dignity, pluralist existence, mutual respect, religious freedom, reciprocity, acceptance of the different other and minority rights.
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