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Asia

2012-09-21

ASIA/SYRIA - The Deputy delegate of Aleppo: Christians help refugees, not to take up arms

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - "There are tens of thousands of displaced families in the metropolitan area of Aleppo, who fled from the neighborhoods where fighting occurs. They find shelter in schools, churches, mosques, public buildings. They must eat, drink, sleep, dress, look after themselves. Many volunteers in our communities are taking care of them, along with other Syrian volunteer groups." This is what the Franciscan Father Georges Abou Khazen, OFM, Vicar Delegate of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo for the Catholics of the Latin rite says to Fides. Primary care interventions are, according to Father Georges, the only collective initiatives that characterize the Christian communities as such respect to the armed conflict between rebels and loyalist forces that for two months have been tearing apart the area of Syrian cities, including air raids and street fighting.
Before the news circulating about groups of Christians who have decided to form patrols of armed self-defense to defend their families and homes from attacks suffered by foreign militants, the Franciscan Abou Khazen reacts firmly: "The Church – he tells Fides - does nothing but preach love and peace for all, even in tragic situations such as those we are experiencing. Then everyone responds to his/her conscience. But the image that is circulating of Christian groups who arm themselves can have tremendous effects. It is like a signal: they are armed, so go there and kill them all. "
The "Lebanese" prospect of groups and factions that take up arms in a scenario cannot find ecclesial covering. Simply the flow of arms from outside is according to father Abou Khazen the most eloquent proof of the international responsibilities of the Syrian conflict: "The other Countries should force those fighting to seek truce and then together to see how one can get out of this tragedy. Instead aid for the displaced does not come from outside. Only weapons that fuel death and destruction are sent."
Pope Benedict XVI, on the flight that brought him to Beirut, described arms trafficking as a "grave sin", identifying it as a factor of constant supply of Middle East conflicts. On that occasion, the Pope recalled the need to "stop importing weapons, because without the importation of weapons the war could not continue" (GV) (Agenzia Fides 21/09/2012)

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