Bkerké (Agenzia Fides) - The growing involvement of refugees in the escalation of crimes committed in Lebanon is fueling intolerance among the Lebanese population towards refugees. And the crimes committed by the Syrian refugees represent a serious manifestation of ingratitude for the hospitality received, also because this increases widespread hostility to all innocent Syrians who were forced to abandon their land to escape violence, finding shelter in a country where "their lives and their dignity were safe guarded". This is the serious situation taken into account and denounced by the Maronite Bishops during their monthly meeting, which took place on Wednesday 4 October in Bkerké under the presidency of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai. In the face of the rise of social tension, the Maronite Bishops, in the final statement, renewed the appeal to Lebanese and international political authorities "not to spare any effort in speeding up the return of Syrian refugees to their homes" so that they can also contribute to the reconstruction of their Country. The Maronite Bishops added that in Syria, "there are many safe areas that can accommodate displaced persons in a dignified manner, waiting for complete peace in their country".
Already on September 30 (see Fides 2/10/2017) Patriarch Rai, during a pastoral visit to Beqa Valley, had remarked that the massive presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is creating an unsustainable situation that can be addressed only by favoring the return of Syrian refugees to their country. Almost in the same hours, similar considerations were also expressed by Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Hezbollah Shiite party. "It is time to return to Syria", Nasrallah said on September 30, referring to Syrian refugees, adding that it is in the interest of the Syrian refugees themselves "to return home and participate in the reconstruction of the Country". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 6/10/2017)