The case of the Maalaula nuns: Where are Muslims?

Christians in Syria are citizens who, like their fellow brothers and sisters, have been affected by the war

Nayla Tueni
Nayla Tueni
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A while ago, we agreed with some Lebanese Muslim religious figures that the Lebanese Christian figures’, particularly Bkirki’s, condemnation of the two explosions which rocked two mosques in Tripoli was insufficient. We also supported some Palestinian figures’ objection to mentioning Palestine in the Maronite bishops’ monthly statements. We think that both objections are proof of the importance of the Christian stance in standing in solidarity with Muslim citizens. They are also proof of the importance of the other party’s interest in the Christians’ opinion and stance. Solidarity is not an act accompanied with gratitude when it’s practiced among the people of one country. After all, if one body organ aches, all other organs ache too. This is the case if we are normal. We must have empathy towards one another and thus stand in solidarity with each other when something hurts us and also share everything that makes us happy.

Talking about solidarity takes us to the case of Syria. Christians in Syria are citizens who, like their fellow brothers and sisters, have been affected by the war. They also bear the duty of protecting their country and participating in the transition towards establishing a free and democratic country that takes them and their future away from the current dictatorial regime and away from the takfirist fundamentalist organizations which cannot establish a state or institutions and which don’t recognize diversity.

Christians in Syria are citizens who, like their fellow brothers and sisters, have been affected by the war

Nayla Tueni

But, the urgent and worrying question today is on the stance of the Muslims, in both Lebanon and the Arab world, regarding the abduction of the two bishops Boulous Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim, the Mar Takla convent nuns in Maaloula, another three priests and monks and dozens of other Syrian Christians.

Condemnations in their simple forms do not change the situation on the ground. Proof to that is what confronted the issue of the Lebanese pilgrims who were abducted in Aazaz. They were released under the pressure of exchanged acts of violence and all under forms of political pressure. The Christians don’t have these capabilities available at the current time for many reasons. First of all, the victims are Syrians and are not directly linked to Lebanon. Also, Lebanon’s and Syria’s churches do not possess the militant means to abduct people and besiege embassies, airlines’ offices or other institutions. Or let’s just say they don’t desire to mobilize their sons towards this path.

The act required today should come from the Muslims themselves as individuals, institutions and states. Muslims must reject these terrorist operations or they will be considered supporters, facilitators or simply careless. Silence is considered akin to implicit approval while rejection calls for real stances and practical measures. The expansion of a logic which cancels the others will not only harm the Christians but will also harm all Muslims who do not approve of this suicidal approach.

Will real Muslims, sons of the tolerant religion, save themselves along with their brothers? Will they save whatever is left of the Arab civilization?

This article was first published in al-Nahar on Dec. 9, 2013.


Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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