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Maronite patriarch fears Syrian conflict may spread to Lebanon

Catholic World News - August 20, 2012

The head of the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern church in full communion with the Holy See, expressed concern that the conflict in Syria could spread to neighboring Lebanon, which Pope Benedict will visit in September.

“The civil war in Syria between the Sunni majority and the Alawite minority has already begun to have an impact on the Sunnis and Alawites in north Lebanon,” said Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï. “The Lebanese are… split into supporters of the Assad regime and supporters of the opposition.”

The patriarch also told Aid to the Church in Need that a majority of the region’s Muslims “recognize the importance of the presence of Christians due to their intellectual, moral and vocational qualities,” as well as “their respect for the law, their loyalty to the country and government authorities, without interfering in policy where the particular regime is theocratic.”

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