Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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By Elizabeth Kendal

In the Middle East, Sunni and Shiite Muslims are embroiled in a political struggle for supremacy that started over thirteen hundred years ago. Shiite theology says only a direct descendant of Mohammed can lead Muslims, thus delegitimising Sunni dictatorships. Sunnis have countered with a fiercely anti-Shiite doctrine. Through the 1970s some Iranian Shiite leaders adopted Marxist revolutionary thought, led a Shiite Revolution (Iran 1979) and Shiism became ascendent. For 35 years the main bulwark against revolutionary Shiism’s expansion was the Sunni Baathist regime controlling Shiite-majority Iraq. The Sunni/Shia demographic in the Middle East is nearly 50/50 and a major Sunni vs Shiite conflagration would devastate the heartland and nerve-centre of Islam. Iraq is ground zero in that struggle. However one factor uniting fundamentalist Sunnis and Shiites is the commitment they share to destroy Israel. In the Levant, the local agenda of Islamist Sunnis has converg ed with the regional agenda of the Syria-Iran Shiite axis; hence the Hamas (Sunni) – Iran (Shiite) alliance.
The Palestinian Territories and Lebanon are prime sites for conflict as they are home to local Islamist militants – Hamas and Hezballah respectively – whom the Iran-Syria Shiite axis can co-opt and support to advance their regional agenda. All the local Islamists need to do is overthrow the ‘apostate’ regimes and Islamist forces will have access to the borders of Israel. This has already happened in Gaza and now eyes are on the West Bank and Lebanon.

Rumours abound that violence will erupt in Lebanon during Summer or Spring. It is circulating that the Syria-backed Hezballah may stage a coup against the Sunni-led, US-backed elected government or else establish a parallel government to rule over territories it dominates. Weapons have reportedly been flowing in from Syria. Many observers believe this civil conflict is imminent. If it erupts and is not quickly resolved then Israel will probably be targeted. Being militarily weak, Islamic militants rely on terrorism, human shields and propaganda. During the Hezballah vs Isra el war of July 2006, Hezballah persistently launched rockets into Israel from behind UN posts and from inside residential complexes and Christian villages.

Lebanon’s Christians are facing perilous times, for whenever Sunnis and Shiites fight each other, Christians and Jews suffer enormously, primarily because Islamic fundamentalist zeal boils. Also, concerned Sunni and Shiite leaders wanting to minimise intra-Islam conflict will seek to unite the Muslim sects against a common ‘enemy’ – Israel, Christians, the US and US-backed regimes – to advance the common goal of Islamisation. As lamented recently by Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic leader, Archbishop Beshara Rai of Byblos, ‘If the Sunnis and Shiites agree, their agreement would come at the expense of the Christians. And if they disagree, the Christians become their victims.’


  • God to use the turmoil to deliver many people from darkness: opening their ears and hearts to the gospel and drawing them close to himself. ‘He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity.’ (Job 36:15 ESV)
  • the Holy Spirit to give great spiritual wisdom, understanding and courage to all Lebanon’s Christian leaders – religious, political and social – so that they will be united and enabled to lead according to God’s will and for his glory.
  • the comforting presence of our loving Saviour Jesus Christ to be known by faith and experience by all Lebanon’s Christians, bringing peace, love, joy and revival to the Church.
  • God to protect his children, meet their needs, and preserve his Church. (Hebrews 1:14)