ASIA/LEBANON - Cardinal Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites calls for calm after the murder of a member of the Lebanese Forces

Tuesday, 9 April 2024 cardinals   violence  

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - Condemnation for the barbaric murder and a strong appeal for "calm and moderation in this delicate and tense political, security and social situation". This is what the Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, said in a statement following the discovery of the body of Pascal Sleiman, coordinator in Jbeil (Byblos) of the “Christian Lebanese Forces Party”. Sleiman disappeared on Sunday, April 7th and was the victim of a kidnapping. His body was found in Syria on the border with Lebanon. According to Lebanese military intelligence, Sleiman was the victim of a kidnapping by an unspecified "Syrian criminal gang" who killed him while trying to steal his car and then took his body to Syria. The Lebanese army says it has arrested most of the criminal gang's members and is in contact with Syrian authorities to recover the body of the slain leader. Cardinal Raï said he was "saddened, like all honest Lebanese, by the tragedy of the kidnapping and murder of Pascal Sleiman." "We all hoped that he was still alive, and that was what was said at the beginning. But the bitter truth is completely different. I prayed for the salvation of his soul. May God protect his family, united in grief, as well as his companions from the Lebanese Forces party." The Maronite Patriarch particularly praised the wisdom of the widow, who "taught the Lebanese a life lesson" because she did not express any thoughts of revenge. The Cardinal added: "May God protect Lebanon and its people from evildoers" and called on "the media to refrain from any misinterpretation and not to fan the fires of discord". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/4/2024)