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‘Identify’ genuine leaders

‘Identify’ genuine leaders
Published: Friday, 28 April, 2006, 12:51 PM Doha Time

A CONCERTED effort is needed to distinguish between those whipping up religious sentiments for personal gains and those genuinely taking up the causes of religions, said Metropolitan Theophilus George Saliba, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Mount Lebanon.

Saliba was in Doha on a three-day visit to participate in the fourth inter-faith dialogue.

An active face at such forums, the archbishop did not mince words to condemn the actions of terrorist groups, who he said were “carrying out evil designs at the behest of those interpreting holy teachings to meet their own ends”.

An ardent advocate of peaceful means to settle disputes involving any two faiths, Saliba said violence was no answer to problems the world encounters and those resorting to such means stand exposed.

Condemning the activities of terrorists in Egypt, whose actions has claimed several lives, the archbishop said that along with bringing a bad name to the religion, it also mars the country’s reputation.

Stressing that only a microscopic minority in Egypt was indulging in such terrorist acts, Saliba said the government has a great role in protecting minorities in the country.

“I have enough reasons to believe that whatever happened in Egypt did not reflect the attitude of the government. In fact most Muslims had openly condemned the attacks on minorities in Alexandria earlier this month,” he said.

Saliba stressed the need of the hour was reciprocity on the part of all religions on the issue of inter-faith dialogue.

Queried on the issue of religious freedom of Christians in West Asia, the archbishop said Christians feel as much secure as Muslims in countries like Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Barring some stray incidents of violence, in Egypt too Christians enjoy religious freedom from the part of governments, he said.

Terming the Doha dialogues “extremely useful” in fostering good relations between different faiths in the long run, Saliba said the representatives of three different religions have come, met and discussed a number of issues that deserved paramount importance.


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