According to a media report, just as Father Samir Hajjar concluded his Sunday sermon at the Syriac Orthodox Church in Tripoli, he received a call asking him to step outside. Crowd together around the outer wall of the parish, members of the Lebanese security forces drew Hajjar’s attention to freshly incomprehensible graffiti. “The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria is Coming,” he read.
Father Samir says, “I was very surprised when I saw it. I have served for 16 years in this church and I’ve never had any problems,” he added. Similar messages have been written on at least two other churches across the city, generating waves of unease throughout the community.
The Lebanese Christians expressed concerns about the sinister threats, but said they would not be intimidated by the spectre of ISIS.
Father Ibrahim Sarrouj, a Greek Orthodox priest says, “If we say that Christians are not worrying, we wouldn’t be telling the truth.” He said that Christians in Tripoli rejected the message scrawled on the wall. “But we are not afraid,” he said with a cheery smile, adding that the liturgy he conducted Sunday was well attended. “Nobody left the city. We’re still here.”