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Patriarchs believe Islamic State has no future in the Middle East

2014-10-15

While the Islamic State continues to advance in Syria and Iraq, they have made their plans known to continue widening their grip on the Middle East.

They have also carried out attacks against religious minorities and Muslims who disagree with their ideology. Despite this, the Patriarchs of the Middle East are hopeful that peace will ultimately triumph. 

GREGOIRE III LAHAN
Greek Patriarch of Antioch and All East Alexandria and Jerusalem
"I am confident that it is not something that is a part of our culture and therefore they will not have a real future. I am really, very very sure. It is just a very difficult, dangerous situation but for a time. I think nobody can accept this kind of jidahist, terrorists which is not even a real representation of Islam.”

Earlier this month, the Pope met with the Apostolic Nuncios of the Middle East. The discussions dealt with the causes of the conflicts. The Patriarchs, as well as religious leaders believe the root lies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

CARD. BECHARA BOUTROS RAI
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
"If we essentially go to the Israeli-Palestinian, the Israel-Arab conflict, I believe it is the origin of everything in the region. This is a problem that goes back many years and needs to be resolved. There are resolutions of the Security Council that have not been applied in this situation.”

GREGOIRE III LAHAN
Greek Patriarch of Antioch and All East Alexandria and Jerusalem
"If really the European Union and the European countries can come together and solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I can tell you we will have really peace and lasting peace in the Middle East and also in Syria.”

While the United States and a small coalition of Arab countries continue to carry out airstrikes, the two Patriarchs believe that they have and will continue to be unsuccessful unless a broader coalition comes together to stop the aggression of the Islamic State. 

CARD. BECHARA BOUTROS RAI
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
"It would have been better if the UN organized this coalition. And what we see on the ground is that nothing has been resolved. For example, already 2-3 weeks have passed and there has been no progress with defeating the Islamic State.” 

The Patriarchs recently visited the US in September and met with the President Barack Obama to discuss the plight of Christians, Muslims, and religious minorities. However, they believe that the world's religions coming together in one voice to denounce fundamentalist ideology is just as important.

GREGOIRE III LAHAN
Greek Patriarch of Antioch and All East Alexandria and Jerusalem
"If we can come together to have a common report, I am hoping for that. It means a voice of the Church in the whole world and that can be very important for the future of the Christian presence in the Middle East to say "Look, the Churches in the whole world are peacemakers and are for the Islam-Christian dialogue, conviviality, living together.” That is a very important opportunity for the Church to be one voice.”

Pope Francis has called all Cardinals and Patriarchs for a meeting on October 20th to discuss the crisis facing Christians in the Middle East. 

The Patriarchs hope that the meeting will serve as an appeal for the entire international community to protect the innocents affected by this threat.


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