Washington, SANA – The Catholic Patriarchs of the East Summit kicked off its activities in the U.S. capital Washington upon the invitation of “In Defense of Christians” Association with the aim of providing support to Christians in the Middle East against terrorism.
A press conference marked the opening of this event, bringing together Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, as well as representatives of the Christians in the Middle East and Lebanon.
In their speeches, the patriarchs appealed to the international community to act quickly to stop attacks on Christians by armed terrorist takfiri organizations and to halt all support to terrorism, adding that Christians should not be murdered or displaced from their homes; rather Christians must be protected and their return with dignity should be ensured.
For his part, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Gregorios III Laham, said that the Patriarchs of the East come together as one voice for the sake of protecting Christians in the Middle East from terrorism, stressing the importance of Christian- Islamic coexistence in the region.
In turn, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros Rai called upon the US to take a clear position and effective procedures to protect Christians who are being killed and displaced at the hands of terrorists affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS) terrorist organization and other terrorist groups.
Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl shed light on the crimes and massacres committed by the takfiri terrorist organizations against Christians in Syria and Iraq.
Wrapping up the press conference, President of “In Defense of Christians”, Toufic Baaklini, stressed the need for preserving humanity, democracy, and international human rights.
Cardinal Sandri called upon spiritual leaders to take a firm stance towards the criminal and violent practices committed by terrorist groups, indicating that the US should support the UN role in this regard since it is responsible for issuing resolutions on such critical issues.
The attendees discussed the importance of cooperation with Muslims to face terrorism as well as the situation of Christians who were driven out of their homes in Syria and Iraq.
Rasha Raslan/ Hazem Sabbagh