Bkirki Spiritual Summit Slams Violence in Syria, Calls for Protecting Lebanon from Region Unrestإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Christian and Muslim spiritual leaders meeting on Sunday in Bkirki called for “immunizing national unity on the basis of coexistence and protecting it from any repercussions of the events taking place in the region.”
The summit was held on the occasion of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the first anniversary of Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s election.
According to the meeting’s closing statement, the conferees discussed “the developments the region has been witnessing,” stressing “the right of the peoples to make their choices.”
But they voiced concerns over a possible delay in “establishing the state of law in these societies.”
The religious leaders condemned “the surging violence in Syria” and expressed their “deep sorrow” over the victims.
They also deplored “the unrelenting cycle of violence and frequent bombings in Iraq,” hoping “this country will restore its role within the Arab and international communities.”
Addressing the plight of the Palestinian people, the clergymen called for “ending the Israeli occupation, establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and implementing the international resolutions.”
Turning to Lebanon, the conferees put emphasis on “the essential choice of the Lebanese to live in one entity,” voicing regret over “the state of internal disintegration” and stressing that “Lebanon can only confront controversial issues through dialogue.”
“The social issue must receive the necessary attention, away from political bickering and narrow interests,” said the closing statement.
The conferees also announced that they will “continue efforts aimed at holding an Arab Muslim-Christian religious summit.”
Al-Rahi stressed in his opening statement the importance of dialogue to resolve all differences.
Similar meetings have been held at the Dar al-Fatwa and the Maronite Bishopric in Beirut.
During the latest meeting held at the Maronite Bishopric in Beirut, the leaders of Lebanon’s sects said their meeting should be considered as an example for interfaith conferences in the region.
They urged officials in Lebanon to be in agreement for the sake of peace and stability in Lebanon and the unity of its people.
The clergymen also called for a “unified stance and a nationalistic rhetoric at a time when Lebanon and the region are going through these difficult and complicated times”.
Later on Sunday, the Druze spiritual leadership in Lebanon issued a communiqué clarifying that the conferees rejected its demand to add the expression “a call for a political, peaceful solution in brotherly Syria based on the Arab League initiative” to the summit’s closing statement.
The leadership “had requested that the meeting be limiting to issuing a common call by the heads of the Islamic and Christian sects calling for harmony and love and rejecting violence and extremism,” it said in its communiqué.
“But the conferees insisted on issuing a statement including some (political) stances, although the draft of the statement was not distributed beforehand to the spiritual leaders, in breach of the norms. As a result, the leadership requested the addition of the expression ‘a call for a political, peaceful solution in brotherly Syria based on the Arab League initiative’.”
However, the Druze spiritual leadership noted that the closing statement included several important points, hoping “communication will continue among all the heads of sects for the sake of Lebanon’s welfare.”
Sources close to Druze political leader MP Walid Jumblat had called on spiritual leaders to voice rejection of the violent crackdown of the Syrian regime on protestors.
The sources said that the Muslim and Christian spiritual leaders should take a clear stance on the Syrian crisis and stress the need for a political solution based on an Arab League plan for President Bashar Assad to transfer power to his deputy.
They also said the final statement of the Bkirki meeting should call for “an end to the violence committed by the regime” that according to the Syrian opposition has so far claimed more than 9,100 lives.
The conferees should not fall in the trap of holding both the regime and the armed opposition responsible for the violence in Syria, the sources warned.
“Any such stance would be totally rejected and strongly criticized,” they said.