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Bishop rues West’s view of Arab Spring, distinguishes jihadists, moderate Muslims

Catholic World News - October 21, 2013

A Maronite bishop in Syria has criticized Western media coverage of the Arab Spring.

“The problem of so many media is that they don’t really grasp real picture of the situation,” Bishop Elias Khoury Sleman of Lattakia told Aid to the Church in Need. “The Arab Spring has been depicted as this clear push for liberty and democracy—but the actual results in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, for example, are proving otherwise. In many respects, the West is poorly informed, including its churches, despite good intentions.”

“Right now, in Syria, the story needs to be told that moderate rebels and Islamists have begun fighting each other,” he continued. “The world’s major powers must intervene—now—to stop Syria from tumbling into utter chaos. I am very worried about the situation. Nonetheless, I continue to have hope—call it a foolish hope, if you will. But with God everything is possible.”

“I cannot and will not speak separately of Christians and Muslims,” he added. “We have lived together in Syria for 1400 years. Why can we not manage to live together anymore? That is the big question. We Christians want to stay and moderate Muslims want the same thing. Why do jihadists and fundamentalist Muslims come to Syria, and elsewhere, to insist that this coexistence is no longer possible?”

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  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 22, 2013 7:30 AM ET USA

    Bishop Elias Khoury Sleman, “I cannot and will not speak separately of Christians and Muslims,” he added. “We have lived together in Syria for 1400 years. U.S Catholics who are slandering their Muslim brothers and sisters should learn from someone who has "walked the walk". Christians need to stop sending anti-Muslim emails and supporting anti-Muslim groups. We need to learn to distinguish between our peaceful Muslim brothers and sisters and the jihadists and other terrorists.

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