Father Samir Hajjar of Tripoli, Lebanon from the Syriac Orthodox Church admits it’s worrying that the ISIS militants are gaining access to the Churches in Lebanon.
Father Hajjar lives in one of the buildings that were vandalized by the ISIS militants in September. He is measured about the incident, but admits it was distressing. “At first, we thought this could just be ordinary vandals, or the work of children,” he says. “I’ve been here 17 years, and no one bothers us. We respect our neighbours and they respect us. But this graffiti on the walls of all the churches, that’s not children’s work. They used stencils. It’s a serious matter.”
He went on to say, “There is fear in Tripoli now. All my life, I’ve never been afraid here. And I’m not afraid now — God will protect us — but there is a problem, and the government is split. Shia, Sunni, Druze — as I see it, the whole Arab region is breaking apart.”