Syriac Maronite Patriarch criticizes EU decision on Syrian refugees, calls for rebuilding Lebanon

BETH KERKE, Lebanon — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Butros al-Rai criticized the EU Parliament’s recent decision on displaced Syrians in Lebanon, stating that it amounts to Syrian refugees occupying the country with the support of the international community.

Patriarch Al-Rai expressed his concern that the decision disregards the fears and aspirations of the Lebanese people, considering it a clear violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty. “We are witnessing political, moral, administrative, judicial, and commercial corruption,” the Patriarch added.

Addressing the state of political affairs, the patriarch remarked that humanity seems to have been lost, leading to the collapse of political work in Lebanon. He questioned the annulment of the presidential elections on 14 June and criticized the apparent negligence of members of parliament during the August holiday.

“Can anyone tell us why the presidential elections on 14 June were annulled?” he asked rhetorically. “Is the August holiday for MPs to sit along the coast and the mountains?”

The Patriarch stressed the importance of preserving the tourism sector, which he sees as crucial for rebuilding the homeland. He urged officials to focus on collecting taxes from everyone and putting an end to smuggling to generate revenue that could be used to pay public sector salaries without impacting depositors’ funds.