LEBANON: Huge number of Syrian refugees seen as a danger to country’s Christians

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Christians in Lebanon

Lebanese Christians might be in danger because of huge numbers of Syrian refugees arriving in the country.

The Lebanese Archbishop Simon Attallah has expressed reservations for the future of Lebanon’s Christians. According to him, an influx of Syrian refugees in Lebanon will be a danger to country’s Christians.

A Former Maronite Archbishop of Baalbek-Deir Al Ahmar also put emphasis on this issue while talking with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). He said, “We have two million Syrians in the country as refugees. Many will return to their homeland when the war is over. But many refugees will remain in the country and apply for Lebanese citizenship in ten years. What will become of us Christians then?”

Also read: Christians are facing danger that threatens their existence in the Syria

“Lebanon is marked by a very delicate religious composition. Those Syrians who will remain in the country are mostly Sunnis. And the religious balance will thus be destroyed. That is a problem for us. We show much solidarity. We want to act in solidarity. But we have obvious problems before our eyes. There is a question mark over our future,” he added.

Archbishop Attallah also remarked that this does not mean that he has no sympathy with the refugees. However, to further illustrate his viewpoint he explains that in Deir Al Ahmar in the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border 9,000 Syrians now live in the area.

Although in the city there are barely some 3,000 to 4,000 Christians. Therefore, the Syrians have become a large majority in the area. And so, there are several problems related with the existence of the refugees. He says, “There is economic competition. Many Syrians have opened shops and restaurants.”

What’s more, prior to the crisis caused by ISIS, a large number of Syrians were involved in labour force of Lebanon. The state of affairs, nonetheless, has worsen, “As a result the Lebanese cannot find work anymore,” he said.