Beirut Patriarch: EU Doesn't Care About the Fate of Christians in the Middle East
The west's attitude to the Syrian conflict was described as "hypocrisy" and sharply criticised by the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church in Beirut, Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III. "For many governments it's merely a matter of economic interests. They don't really care about the fate of the Christians in the Middle East. Otherwise they would advocate equality before the law and the observance of human rights for all, including in those countries where the so-called Arab Spring has not taken place", the Beirut Patriarch claims in an interview with the international Catholic charity "Aid to the Church in Need". It's primarily a matter of safeguarding freedom of conscience and religion for all. But this equality before the law does not exist. "It is this that seriously threatens our survival throughout the region", the head of the Syriac Catholic Church stressed.
Below we publish the interview with His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III., Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church in the Middle East and one of the seven Patriarchs in this region.
Interview with His Beatitude Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III., Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church in the Middle East and one of the seven Patriarchs in this region. The Syriac Catholic Church is one of the 18 faith communities in Lebanon recognised in the Lebanese constitution. The interview was conducted by Jürgen Liminski.
Q) Your Beatitude, we hear a lot about the situation of the Christian refugees and the tensions in Lebanon. That's one side of the picture. The other is the political aspect of the Christian presence in Lebanon and in the Middle East. Is this presence at risk?
A) Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III.: "The situation of the Christians in Lebanon differs fundamentally from that of the Christians in the other countries of the Middle East. The constitution recognises 18 official religious communities, eleven of which are Christian. But the main concern everywhere is that of human rights. There's no lack of money and also no lack of vocations. We are being put under pressure by those who wish to recognise only one single religion. We Christians do not demand any special rights; we only want the same rights as everybody else. We want freedom of conscience, we want freedom of religious worship, and we also want freedom for those who don't believe anything. This equality before the law does not exist. It is this that seriously threatens our survival throughout the region." (...)