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Maronite patriarch: ‘Arab Spring’ is turning into winter

Catholic World News - March 06, 2012

The head of the Maronite Catholic Church has spoken with reporters about his fears that the “Arab Spring” is becoming a winter. “We are with the Arab Spring but we are not with this spring of violence, war, destruction and killing,” said Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï, who has led the Eastern Catholic church since March 2011. “This is turning to winter … How can it be an Arab Spring when people are being killed every day? They speak of Iraq and democracy, and one million Christians out of an original 1.5 million have fled Iraq.”

Discussing the situation in Syria, he added:

Syria, like other countries, needs reforms which the people are demanding. It’s true that the Syrian Baath regime is an extreme and dictatorial regime but there are many others like it in the Arab world.

All regimes in the Arab world have Islam as a state religion, except for Syria. It stands out for not saying it is an Islamic state ... The closest thing to democracy (in the Arab world) is Syria.

We are not defending it. But we regret that Syria, which wants to take a step forward ... is undergoing this violence and destruction and (use of) power and weapons …

We do not speak out against any sect and we do not fear moderate Islam. We fear the extremists groups that use the language of violence

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