Muslim-Christian Summit Rejects Foreign Influence, Domestic Armsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
An Islamic-Christian summit held Thursday at Dar al-Fatwa called on Lebanese parties to stop relying on foreign influence to empower themselves domestically, as it rejected the proliferation of arms in the country under the excuse of self-defense against jihadist groups.
The summit also stressed the importance of dialogue for preserving pluralism and addressing disputes.
According to the closing statement, the conferees also decided to “form a joint Muslim-Christian delegation to discuss … the violation of Arab Christians' rights with the Arab religious and political authorities.”
The spiritual leaders called for “consolidating the pillars of the state and its institutions instead of paralyzing it,” stressing commitment to “coexistence, national unity, the state and its constitutions institutions.”
Tensions have been running high in Lebanon since a deadly incursion into the Bekaa border town of Arsal by Syria-based jihadists in early August. The militants took hostage several dozen soldiers and policemen during clashes with the Lebanese army in and around the town.
Jihadists from the Islamic State have so far executed two of the hostages while al-Nusra Front has killed a third, causing deep anger and anxiety in Lebanon and leading to a backlash against Syrian refugees in some places.
Turning to the thorny issue of Syrian refugees, the conferees noted that "Lebanon is performing its humanitarian duties towards the refugees, but it cannot bear the burden of a community whose numbers are equivalent to more than a third of its own population."
They urged the Arab and international communities to "share the responsibility."
There are more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which has just four million citizens.
Commenting on the stalled presidential election in Lebanon, the spiritual leaders warned that "delaying the election of the only Christian head of state in the Arab world prevents Lebanon from performing its noble message."
"Lebanon needs a president who enjoys a vision and the wisdom required to lead the Lebanese," the conferees said.
They also called on the parliament to "carry out its constitutional duty and elect a new president ... who would reflect the country's unity and sovereignty and safeguard its security and stability."
Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended. Several presidential elections sessions have been held at parliament, but the blocs have failed to elect his successor due to ongoing disputes between the March 8 and 14 camps.
The disagreement has also led to bickering over holding legislative sessions given the presidential vacuum.