Lebanese bishop: People must be helped to return to their homes

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The Hungarian government was quick to realize that the proper way of helping Middle Eastern Christian communities is to assist them in creating the conditions to return home, the head of the Lebanese Maronite Church, Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rahi said.

The religious leader told Magyar Hírlap that the biggest difference was that the Hungarian government provided assistance in rebuilding homes in Syria, churches in Lebanon and also making similar efforts in Iraq.

“Other western countries aren’t doing this. We fully support the Hungarian government’s intention to help people return to their homes,” the bishop said. We are of course also grateful to Western European countries who take in our refugees and help them in their daily lives, he added.

“But in the long term, this does not serve the interests of Eastern communities. Ultimately, it will do just what the war has done so far: they have destroyed our homes in the war and now they are removing our history and our culture from the region”

Boutros al-Rahi said Western governments – with the exception of Hungary – don’t help them because they fail to see the difference between political issues and assisting people in returning to their homes. But they should make this distinction sooner rather than later and help Christians return to their homes in Syria or Iraq, because only this serves peace in the long-term.

The head of the Lebanese Maronite Church visited Hungary on the country’s national day and had meetings with President János Áder, Speaker of the House László Kövér and Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén. He asked that Hungary should raise its voice on international forums and call for an end to the war in Syria.

“The (Hungarian) government has already given us enormous financial and other help. Other European countries should also do more, because if they encouraged the war, now they must encourage and offer assistance in establishing peace,” he said.



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