Jamaa Islamiya to al-Rahi, Aoun: Inciting Sectarian Feelings Won't Benefit Anyone
Lebanon’s branch of the Jamaa Islamiya on Friday criticized Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s latest stances on the Syrian crisis.
“Any person has the right to express his stances and viewpoints, but we were not expecting such a stance from His Eminence, especially that he deduced that any change achieved by the Syrian people would have negative repercussions on the ties among the Lebanese communities,” the Jamaa Islamiya said in a statement.
It also criticized “Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun’s remarks, in which he lauded Patriarch al-Rahi’s stances and warned that Christians will be marginalized if the regime changes” in Syria.
Al-Rahi’s concerns are “refuted by a long history, which has proven that the Lebanese communities have been coexisting for long decades without any fear or apprehension, and that Muslims are totally keen on the best relation amongst each other and with the other Lebanese components,” the Jamaa added.
Recalling the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Islamist group reminded al-Rahi that “all the components of the Iraqi people, without exception, have suffered the woes of occupation, killings and displacement, and most of the times the Muslims paid the biggest price.”
“Therefore, any comparison in this regard would not be based on fair standards,” the Jamaa noted.
It warned that “inciting sectarian and non-sectarian sentiments in these very circumstances will not benefit any of the region’s communities.”
The group called for “reactivating Islamic-Christian dialogue, which is apt to reassure all communities, away from the approach of suspicion and prejudgment.”
“Let us leave peoples decide their own fate,” the Jamaa urged.
Al-Rahi told Al-Arabiya television on Thursday that sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites may emerge if the Syrian government is overthrown.
“If the regime changes in Syria, and the Sunnis take over, they will form an alliance with the Sunnis in Lebanon, which will worsen the situation between the Shiites and the Sunnis,” al-Rahi said.
He warned that the Christians will pay the price if the Muslim Brotherhood succeeded Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Al-Rahi also urged the international community to grant Assad more time to implement reforms and resume dialogue with the opposition.