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June 10, 2013 1:15 pm

Former Lebanese President Warns Mideast Christians Face ‘Existential Crisis’

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JNS.org Former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel warned that Middle East Christians face an “existential crisis” due the threat of “religious cleansing” in the region, at a speech sponsored by Christian Solidarity International.

Gemayel, a Maronite Christian who was president from 1982-1988 after taking over for his brother Bashir, who was assassinated during the bloody Lebanese Civil War, said Christians “are often victims of persecution by both the state and society in the Middle East.”

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Gemayel specifically mentioned the ongoing civil war in his neighboring Syria, saying the abduction in April of two Christian archbishops in Aleppo highlighted the plight of Syrian Christians. Currently the leader of Lebanon’s Maronite Christian Kataeb Party (also known as the Phalange Party), Gemayel said that the international community must do more to help the Arab world.

“The international community can and must assist in the process of transitioning to democracy in the Arab world,” he said, especially in “critical areas such as democracy and human rights.”

“The challenge for Arab Muslims now is to prove to the world that the region is capable of achieving pluralist freedom,” Gemayel said. “Now is the time to formulate and implement solutions.”

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