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Lebanon: Christians defy land-grabbers in Beirut after explosion leaves 300,000 families displaced

Estimates indicate that Lebanon today is 54% Muslim and 40.5% Christian. That includes 8% Greek Orthodox. The Christians in Lebanon are under constant pressure to sell their property to Muslims and leave the country. Many Christians are resisting this. The massive explosion in Beirut has become yet another pretext for the land-grabbers. Mgr Bou-Hadir accordingly states: “There are people trying to profit from this catastrophe and buy land and homes from the Christians. People want to stay. A number of the old people – and younger ones, too – are staying in their homes, even ones that are damaged. With all respect to people who hold other religious beliefs, we cannot sell Christian homes to others. We do not want to change the demography. The land does not only have material value. It is our dignity. It is where we have our roots.”

Please pray that the Christians of Lebanon, and all the Christians of the Middle East, would persevere in their faith and weather this present crisis.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the imminent disappearance of Christianity from some of its ancient strongholds, see here.

“Christians defy land-grabbers in Beirut,” by Katie Ascough, Catholic Ireland, August 15, 2020:

According to Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Christians in Beirut have responded with defiance amid reports that groups seeking to profit from the recent explosion are trying to persuade them to sell up and leave.

Estimates have suggested that 300,000 families were displaced by the blast on 4 August, but Monsignor Toufic Bou-Hadir, an ACN project partner, has described how people, including the elderly, are choosing to keep their damaged homes rather than accept offers to sell their properties.

In an interview with ACN, Mgr Bou-Hadir said: “There are people trying to profit from this catastrophe and buy land and homes from the Christians. People want to stay. A number of the old people – and younger ones, too – are staying in their homes, even ones that are damaged. With all respect to people who hold other religious beliefs, we cannot sell Christian homes to others. We do not want to change the demography. The land does not only have material value. It is our dignity. It is where we have our roots.”

Stressing that Christian districts of Beirut bore the brunt of the explosion, Mgr Bou-Hadir said that in the past few days Church leaders had worked with politicians to frustrate land-grabbers by passing legislation preventing the faithful from selling their homes. Meantime, nearly 300 young people packed Beirut’s damaged Maronite Cathedral for a night vigil where they heard Archbishop Paul Abdel Sater call on them not to lose faith in their future in the city, despite the explosion on 4 August….

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