The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai, says Christians always pay the highest price when conflicts erupt in Middle East countries such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Cardinal Rai also said that outside countries, especially in the West but also elsewhere, are helping to foment these conflicts.
Speaking in an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Rai says the situation in the Middle East is becoming more and more critical as each day passes. He said whenever a conflict breaks out in the Middle East, whenever chaos ensues, Muslim groups attack the minority Christian community, as if they were always the scapegoat.
The Lebanese Patriarch said all Christians are asking for is security and stability and spoke of how throughout the Arab world Christians respect the institutions, the authorities and the constitution. Thanks to the presence of us Christians and our daily life in all these Arab countries, he said, we have created a certain moderation in the Muslim world. Speaking about the tensions between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the Christian community in Egypt, Cardinal Rai said it was a known fact that once in power, the Muslim Brotherhood were seeking to introduce Shariah law. Certainly, he said, the Christians are against this and want a reformed and democratic Egypt, an Egypt that knows how to respect human rights.
When asked how he sees the future, Cardinal Rai spoke of his belief that there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests. There’s also, he added, a plan to exacerbate as much as possible the inter-confessional conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
The current events in Egypt and Syria clearly show that the so-called "Arab Spring" hides some realities that are much more complex than those simplistic analyses that are often reported here or there.
The positions of the West irritate, sometimes are silent, sometimes noisy, in the struggle to hide its embarrassment and helplessness. Its biased view and its misjudgement with regard to the actual understanding of Middle Eastern issues are denounced. Between the East and the West, misunderstanding seems now total.
And how can we forget the plight of Eastern Christians? Their centuries-old presence has probably never been more threatened. The outburst of violence against them - particularly in Egypt - have attracted nothing but soft condemnations from the international community. Embraced by fear, threat of isolation, these Christians are fighting for the right to exist, and also claim, in these decisive hours, the right to speak.
His Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, does not hide his pessimism. He talks about the general situation in the Middle East, making an appeal to Pope Francis, "the only man who is talking of Peace." Only the Holy See can "put an end to this tragedy."