President Michel Aoun, stressed on Saturday that Lebanon can be a global center for the dialogue of religions and civilizations while expressing great concerns over the evacuation of the Christians from the Levant region
“Lebanon can be a global center for dialogue among religions and civilizations, this is because it includes religions and doctrines of the world and its sons live together in it,” said Aoun in an interview with SAT-7 TV network on the occasion of Easter.
“To achieve this end, we have to try lobbying pressure everywhere in order to obtain the United Nations acceptance. We want Lebanon to be an official international center for dialogue, not just a state initiative,” added the President.
On the rattled situation in the Middle East, Aoun said: “ What is happening in the region has dangerous political goals and aim to devoid the Levant of Christians and divide the region into several statelets.
“The migration from the East began long ago, especially from Israel, where for example out of %22 of Christians in Jerusalem only one percent remained. In other cases, especially in Syria, Iraq and sometimes in Egypt, Kenya and Libya, Christians as well as Muslims were killed and churches and mosques were destroyed by a group.” A possible reference to Israel
He stressed that political differences between the Lebanese do not stem from religious differences.
“We have to make the world understand that we still enjoy the highest levels of civilization in terms of freedom of belief and the right to be different, which may sometimes reach us chaotic more than any other country in the world,” he noted.
“We should make the world understand that we are still enjoying the highest level of civilization from the perspective of Freedom of Belief and the Right to be Different .”
To a question on his role as the sole Christian president in the Arab countries with a mission to promote understanding and coexistence amid what is happening, Aoun said: “We have a vital role in this Levant, and the atmospheres were agitated in the region. Therefore I started visiting countries that should be friendly and restored ties to normal. God willing, we will continue in this direction.”
“Is it possible that we [Christians] become homeless and we [Christians] are the ones who lived in the region and delivered the civilization to Europe and the world?” He wondered.
The President revealed that Pope Francis was worried about the Christians’ situation in the Middle East .
Aoun said that terrorism in the region targeted the Christians and the Muslims equally.
Lebanon’s location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.
The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. 1550–539 BC).
Despite its small size ( 10452 sq. km) the country has developed a well-known culture and has been highly influential in the Arab world. Lebanon was referred to as the “Switzerland of the East” during the 1960s, and its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as “the Paris of the Middle East” At the end of the Civil War ( 1975-1990) , there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.