Bombing in Lebanon ‘to intimidate Christians’?
“There are some Islamist groups here that would like to target Christians while other Muslims in Lebanon are interested in preserving Lebanon as a country where all communities coexist all together.”
By Aaron Klein
12.13.07 Lebanon (ynetnews) – Yesterday’s deadly bombing targeting a top Lebanese army general was a bid by anti-government elements to destabilize the country and delay presidential elections and may be part of a general campaign to intimidate Lebanon ‘s Christian population, former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel told WND during an exclusive interview on Thursday.
Gemayel noted it was “very strange” that yesterday’s attack, like so many other recent bombings, occurred in a Christian neighborhood.
“Maybe this could lead to a situation where Christians feel threatened,” he said. “There are some Islamist groups here that would like to target Christians while other Muslims in Lebanon are interested in preserving Lebanon as a country where all communities coexist all together.”
Gemayel pointed to trends of what he said evidenced Christian persecution throughout the Middle East, including in Egypt , where Christian Copts are regularly singled out and targeted, and in Iraq , where even under US occupation Muslim groups have bombed churches and attacked Christian villages. In 2005 alone, 30,000 Christians fled Iraq , according to survey information.
A recent study in Lebanon found 30 percent of the country’s Christian population is working actively to emigrate. And according to several reports, nearly 600,000 Christians departed Lebanon the past 16 years.
Christians previously made up the majority of Lebanon ‘s population. A 1932 census stated Lebanon was 55 percent Christian. But recent surveys cited by the CIA Factbook state Muslims now constitute a solid majority, with 60 percent. The Shia sect, represented by the Hizbullah militia, is Lebanon ‘s largest Muslim community.
‘Every Lebanese fears for life’
Many Christian sects support Lebanon ‘s anti-Syrian politicians, including the Christian Phalangists, considered one of Syria ‘s main political foes in Lebanon . Others, including many Maronite Christians represented by parliament member Michel Aoun, have joined political forces with Hizbullah , Syria ‘s ally.
“Every Lebanese fears for life, especially those involved on the Christian side and the political side, including the Cedar Revolution leaders, but we refuse to give in to threats. We will prevail,” said Gemayel.