• The Grand Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic and His Beatitude Ignatius IV Patriarch of Antioch and all the East recently met with Kofi Annan. Annan has spoken to the Security Council, and with high-ranking political individuals in the UN and elsewhere urging them to let Syria solve its own problems.
It is unique as an Arab nation in having full religious freedom for all, so the financing of mercenaries by the West is not helpful. In spite of Annan’s wise words, the recent so-called Friends of Syria meeting in Istanbul has just promoted the provision of weapons to insurgents. The UK Foreign Minister William Hague has swallowed the Obama line hook line and sinker to the detriment of the survival of Syria as a multinational multi-faith society.
A few years ago the Grand Mufti visited York St John University, and there he and Fr. Æthelwine, the Orthodox Chaplain, surprised some of those present by greeting each other like long lost brothers. That was a reminder of normal life in Syria. They had not seen each other for about three years, keeping in touch through friends. Now, amid the Qatari, Saudi, Libyan, and US inspired confusion we need to hear the latest words of the Syrian religious leaders in their joint statement.
The Grand Mufti calls upon those who carry weapons to return to dialogue instead. He adds that those who have taken up weapons to sabotage their homeland in the service of foreign agendas are not Syrian because Syria has always been a country of co-existence, where there is no difference between a Christian and a Moslem.
The Patriarch points out that the lies and fabrications propagated about the situation of Christians in Syria are untrue, and mere illusions in the minds of some Europeans.
“In Syria, we, Muslims and Christians, live as brothers and share everything.” He wished Kofi Annan success, and promised to support his peace mission in every possible way.
I do hope this Prime Minister will make more effort to resist the CIA than Tony Blair and perhaps avoid another Middle East catastrophe.