Catholic World News

Syrian priest tells Islamists who destroyed his parish that they are betraying ‘true Islam’

November 06, 2013

Father Naaman Rawik, a Syrian priest now in Lebanon, has issued a statement to the members of the rebel Islamist militias who destroyed his parish.

The statement was translated into French by the Catholic organization Fraternité Chrétienne Sarthe-Orient and subsequently excerpted in English by the Fides news agency.

“You have erased all Christian traces, destroying our churches and offending their patron saints, taking possession of our homes and pushing pastors and their parishioners into exile,” the priest said. “Thank you, for your actions are a reflection of what you are … because a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. ‘By their fruits you shall know them,’ says the Bible.”

“Is not Islam in the continuity with Abraham, who is the father of all believers and the religion behind which we Christians started walking 600 years before you?” he added.

He continued, “Return to your holy books, learn from them true Islam,” which “can demonstrate, through the verses of the Qur’an, that you have become strangers of the book and the teaching of Allah on tolerance, that you are now strangers to our authentically Arab way of living, that you are totally foreign to the traditions of respect in which we grew up, Muslims and Christians in Syria.”

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Nov. 07, 2013 7:42 AM ET USA

    Mario, good point. Outside of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no nation (Christian, Jewish, Asian, Muslim) has actually used nukes. But if you look at those aspiring to build nukes, there is one Islamic nation I could see using them: Iran.

  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Nov. 06, 2013 1:02 PM ET USA

    The last time I checked most of the nukes were held by countries with a strong Christian background. I don't think the priest is deluded: he is just calling the rebels to see the contradiction of calling themselves people of the Book, referring to Abraham, and acting as they do. And don't forget, most of us on CC don't live where the priest has lived all his life.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Nov. 06, 2013 8:34 AM ET USA

    While I feel badly for this priest, I believe he is deluded about Islam. For every tolerant verse in the Koran, there are other intolerant verses. So, what is true Islam? Who decides which interpretation is authoritative? Islam is a larger version of the Protestant problem: sola scriptura and private interpretation. But, unlike Protestantism, Islam has bombs and nukes and swords.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Nov. 06, 2013 7:39 AM ET USA

    I think Fr. Naaman tries to make a point here not substantiated by the evidence. The problem with Islam does not begin when it is somehow deformed; rather it begins when one converts to that sect. The violence we see around the globe fundamental to the so-called holy book(s) of Mohammedanism. In fact, the most faithful Muslims are those who enslave women, kill, burn, loot, terrorize unbelievers, and threaten to murder apostates from their vicious creed. It is pollyannaish to think otherwise.