Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fr Georges Massouh: We Doubt that the Nuns went of their Own Free Will

Arabic original here.

Is There Fear that the Kidnapped Nuns Will Be Used As Human Shields?

As though it were not enough that the fate of the two kidnapped metropolitans of Aleppo has been unknown for months, another problem is added to the Church's worries with the kidnapping of 12 nuns from the Monastery of Maaloula by extremist groups, since the subject of their kidnapping continues to be discussed, especially after their appearance on al-Jazeera saying that they were "well and not kidnapped." What does the Orthodox Church say about their appearance and their situation?

The director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Studies at Balamand University, Fr Georges Massouh, says, "Naturally, we doubt that the nuns went of their own free will to wherever they are now, as was claimed in the video that was shown. Instead, they were kidnapped and detained and they were robbed of their freedom and we do not know why this happened. The nuns are peace-loving, and if they wanted to go to any place outside the monastery, they would not have gone with this group, since there are other places that they could have gone to. Especially since one of the nuns said [in the video] that they will be 'released' after two days, use of the the word 'released' means that they were kidnapped."

Fr Massouh regrets that "the crosses on their necks were removed. This is a dangerous sign that proves that there is a lack of respect for freedom of faith, which is against religious teachings and against human rights."

Up to now, the Church has no information about the rumored exchange and release of captives. "The issue of realizing demands is not with the Church, but with the Syrian state. This is another indication that they were kidnapped. Note that there is fear in the Church that the kidnapped nuns will be used as human shields."

Fr Massouh confirms to an-Nahar that "the Church worries about all those kidnapped, detained and expelled and all who are suffering in Syria. However, when it comes to targeting nuns and cloistered clergymen who have no concern but to pray for their fellow citizens, this is a dangerous sign that we have reached an intolerable state of decline and degeneracy." In closing, Fr Georges stresses that "the Church rejects any call for young Christian men to bear arms. We, Jesus Christ's group, do not form militias or parties and we do not enter into sectarian wars."

*On his personal Facebook page, Fr Georges clarified his closing statement from this article:
"I rejected the formation of sectarian Christian militias. I have never said that Christians should not defend their country... Defending Syria is a sacred right for all sons of Syria, Christian and Muslim, and this has its ways and means, including the army that does not discriminate between Syrians on a sectarian basis. Any sectarian call for defending the sect is deadly for Syria and for the Syrian public... this is what I meant."

1 comment:

Alan Lonergan said...

Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross has spoken with Mother Palagia!
"Maloula Nuns Kidnapped for Military Gains"