Russia’s intervention in Syria is not ‘sacred’

Nayla Tueni

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A few days ago, Muslim scholars protested in front of the Russian embassy in Beirut against Moscow’s intervention in Syria. In response, members of the Syrian community in Lebanon - who were mobilized by the embassy - protested in support of the intervention and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Support for Russia’s role may be political, but it took a sectarian turn following attempts to liken it to a crusade.

Nayla Tueni

This support for Russia’s role may be political, but it took a sectarian turn following attempts to liken it to a crusade. Those doing so fail to realize the possible negative repercussions on coexistence in Lebanon, Syria and the region. They have also missed the fact that Russia is only serving its own interests.

If Russian tradition stipulates that priests must bless all humanitarian and military campaigns, then what the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said about war is worth reading. He said confronting terrorism is a sacred act as terrorism deprives people of their right to live and to express themselves.

He said Muslims in particular must confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with all their power, or else they will be viewed as implicitly agreeing with its crimes. Instead of confronting terrorism in all its forms, some are reopening wounds and inciting divisions.


In response, Orthodox intellectuals such as Elias Audi, Metropolitan bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church for the Archdiocese of Beirut, said during his sermon on Sunday: “The Church doesn’t bless he who kills another, as a man’s life is the possession of God, and he who kills a man [is tantamount] to he who desires to kill God.

“The murdered goes to God, while the murderer’s heart is dark and unjust as the devil dwells there, and the devil doesn’t enter the kingdom of God. Every church must be as such if it instructs God’s teachings and abides by his words...

“Our people in this region are leaving their homes and living a miserable life, but they’re not responding to this abuse by a similar abuse. So let it be clear that our Orthodox Church... doesn’t sanctify wars, and doesn’t call any war sacred.”

This article was first published in an-Nahar on Oct.23, 2015.

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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