Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Interview with Bishop Luka Khoury on the Situation in Syria

Read the entire interview with Russia Today here.

Outsiders are killing Syrian People, destroying Churches and mosques - Christian Bishop


NK: Do the militants target Orthodox Churches?
BL: They kill people. They do not care about people, about human lives. And that's more important than churches and cathedrals, because if there are no people, there's no need for cathedrals. They do not care about having killed hundreds of our people, let alone destroying churches or mosques. Our churches have been attacked in all provinces. In Saidnaya the monastery was under fire, but, thank God, a miracle happened - the shell landed in the yard, breaking through the wall, but didn't explode. It broke in two, with all the gunpowder in one half of it. If not for this miracle, the shell would've killed 30 orphan girls. I've been there and saw everything. Everywhere - in Harasta, Arbin, Zabadani, Daraa, Aleppo, and around Damascus - our churches and our people have been attacked. They are suffering. Our cathedral in Raqqa has been severely damaged. These outlaws assault parishioners, kidnap and kill priests. Father Fadi Haddad from Qatana was kidnapped and killed when he attempted to rescue his people. They tortured him and killed him. The same happened in Hama. Currently we're trying to rescue the two priests that remain abducted.


NK: What are the sentiments within the parishes of the Patriarchate of Antioch in the USA, Canada and Australia?
BL: Metropolitan Philip Heads the parishes there. He is even a bigger patriot of Syria than I am. He works in the best interests of the whole community - the whole Church of Syria. The Supreme Mufti and I were supposed to pay a visit to the USA, but unfortunately he was denied a visa. To express solidarity for him, I decided to call off the trip. There surely can be a couple of people in any parish abroad who have their own views of the situation in Syria. But overall, there are mainly Syrian patriots within the Patriarchate of Antioch all over the world.

NK: Is there any pressure exerted on the parishes abroad attempting them towards the position of the West on Syria?
BL: There hasn't been any direct Political pressure so far. But there is pressure and a threat of attack by supporters of the Syrian opposition. Some of our parishioners were beaten. Our female Honorary Consul in Montreal was attacked - her chemist's shop was raided and her husband was beaten. Another attack was on a restaurant owner in Ottawa - for his involvement with the Syrian diaspora.


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