Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, Catholic Cardinal and leader of the Maronite Church in Antioch, Lebanon recently met with top Levantine Christian figures to discuss the plight of Christians as they are persecuted by ISIS. He warns that with their increasing numbers and strength of faith, Muslims will eventually conquer Europe.
A delegation of Eastern Patriarchs, inclusing Cardinal Boutros al-Rahi, met with Senior Kurdish officials including KRG President Massoud Barzani. They argued in support of Christians and other minorities in Iraq who face persecution.
“We are here to declare our solidarity with our Christian brothers who have been forced out of their homes,” said Boutros al-Rahi. “You must not think about migration, you must stay in your country and to preserve your roots and land. We are also here to call on the international community to not stand arms crossed watching the threat of ISIL grow.”
The delegation paid a surprise visit to a group of Christian refugees that had been forced to seek shelter in nearby suburbs. We are here to support “those who can’t find anyone to stand for them,” said Gregory III Laham, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch. “The Holy Book says it is not with bread alone that man survives; man needs his dignity, his home, his land.
The delegation also discussed vandalism of churches, barbaric killings, and abductions by militants in Iraq. They discussed reports that ISIL has established slave markets in Middle Eastern countries, in effect putting a price tag on Christian woman and children.
Carinal Boutros al-Rahi urges fellow Christians not to flee, not to accept the Visas being thrown their way, but to stand their ground and preserve their presence in the Levant. “I have often heard from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: their faith and their birthrate,” he said, fearing a Muslim takeover.
While Muslims believe “that numbers will give them the upper hand,” Christians “hardly get married anymore, and have few children,” said the Cardinal in an interview with Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana. “The practice of the faith is essential and fundamental. In Saudi Arabia they go to Friday prayers even if they need a walking stick. They know the Koran by heart, and when they talk they often cite it. The same is not true for Christians who do not refer either to the Bible or the teachings of the Church.”