Christian Post — The Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militant group Hezbollah, classified for many years by U.S. Intelligence as a terrorist organization, is training Christians to fight ISIS in Lebanon and the Middle Eastern believers say their new and unlikely allies “accept us as we are.”
Citing Lebanese sources, Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin says Christian villages in the Bekaa Valley area of Lebanon are forming militias to join Hezbollah fighters already engaging ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nursa Front in the Syrian Qalamoun mountains opposite villages in central and eastern Bekaa.
Rifit Nasrallah, a Catholic businessman who is part of the militias fighting ISIS in Ras Baalbek, discussed the alliance with Hezbollah in an International Business Times report last month.
“We’re in a very dangerous situation,” he said. “The only people who are protecting us are the resistance of Hezbollah. The only one standing with the army is Hezbollah. Let’s not hide it anymore.”
Nasrallah said Hezbollah does not expect its allies to convert to Islam or create an allegiance to the group’s ideals.
“They accept us as we are,” he said. “They do not impose on us anything. When there’s an occasion, they come to our children’s birthdays. The people here accept that Hezbollah comes and helps.”
This unlikely alliance between Christians and Hezbollah is a far cry from the adversarial relationship depicted between the two groups in the region.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST
A gathering of Lebanese Christians, known as “the Lady of the Mountain,” met Sunday with the aim of mapping out the role that Christian’s should play in preserving coexistence in Lebanon and the region.
The protection of Lebanon requires Christians to work towards preventing sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis, which in turn would protect Muslims, Christians and the Lebanese entity as a whole, a statement released after the meeting said.
The statement also said that presidential elections should be carried out through a national approach, not a strictly Christian one.
The gathering agreed on the need to reemphasize the unique Lebanese model of coexistence, especially with regards to the Muslim-Christian and Sunni-Shiite partnership in governing a single state.
The statement noted that a return to the Taif Accord would bring an end to attempts to unsettle the foundations of Lebanese coexistence, saying that the agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war serves as a model for religious coexistence in the region.
The convened also agreed that protecting Lebanon during this turbulent phase requires a set of initiatives, such as supporting the efforts of the Maronite Church in pushing lawmakers to end the year-long presidential vacuum.
FULL ARTICLE FROM AL BAWABA
The University of Al Azhar, the highest academic center of Sunni Islam, along with Muslim governments in the region have condemned the slaughter of 28 Ethiopian Christians in a video released by ISIS on Sunday.
The statement from Al Azhar, attributed to Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb and sent to Agenzia Fides, calls the mass killings a “heinous crime, committed by the Daesh terrorist group, which goes against any religion, law or human conduct.”
The terror group has targeted Christians in its attacks throughout the past year, and in February executed 21 Egyptian Coptics in another video posted online.
Muhammad Dayri, the foreign minister of Libya condemned the latest murders carried out by ISIS, and called them “barbaric.”
“This is not the first time that these hordes of ISIL operate with tragic and horrible actions in Libya,” Dayri said at a meeting of African and Asian leaders in Jakarta, referring to the February executions.
Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry also spoke out against the slaughter of Ethiopian Christians and the religious nature of the crime.
“The Foreign Ministry condemns, in the strongest terms, terrorist organization ISIS’ slaughter and killing in cold blood of 28 innocent Christian Ethiopians in Libya, whose only sin was to not believe in ISIS’ takfiri ideas and delusional teachings,” the ministry said, expressing solidarity with the Ethiopian people in light of “this painful tragedy.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST
When I’m watching videos of ISIS destroying ancient statues or news coverage of the wars in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Iraq, I’m thinking about other “victims” of the current turmoil in the Middle East–my students at the American University of Beirut. Every day, their futures are being mapped out by bullets and bombs, and their hopes and dreams hijacked by widespread violence, rampant corruption, and the appallingfailure of the international community to put an end to the Syrian war.
Being in college is hard enough, but imagine studying for a bachelors degree and living away from home for the first time with violence breaking out in all directions. ISIS and the army exchanging gunfire on the border with Syria. Deadly shells detonating on the border with Israel. Suicide bombers exploding in the heart of Beirut. Political deadlock that has left Lebanon without a president for almost a year. No wonder it’s hard for so many students to focus in class.
Some of my students are Syrian refugees–whose trauma from the war back home is magnified by the unwelcome treatment they receive in Beirut. Others are Palestinian refugees, who have known nothing but displacement since birth. The majority are Lebanese, whose parents not so long ago were embroiled in a brutal civil war–that many believe never really ended.
ISIS fighters make regular guest appearances in my students’ creative assignments, and close friends who died in bomb blasts in Beirut cry out for peace from beyond the grave. When my students and I read Plato’s Republic, I invite them to imagine themselves as philosopher kings of Lebanon–and ask them what their first order of business would be. A common response? “Burn it to the ground!” And after that? “Walk away,” they say.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST