Lebanese bishops slam assassination

Lebanese Catholic bishops have "strongly condemned" the assassination last week of a leading Maronite political leader, Antoine Ghanem.

Maronite Fr Joseph Mouannes, secretary of the Lebanese bishops' communications commission, said the bishops "strongly condemn this act."

"It is a huge crime against humanity, and it is a huge crime against freedom and democracy," he said.

"They can't stop freedom and the dignity of a nation and its people by killing people," Father Mouannes said. "They are not able to kill the spirit of a nation, the spirit of Lebanon, the spirit of freedom, especially the freedom of the Christian society and the freedom of democracy."

"We are praying to God to protect our country," said Fr Mouannes. "We have to elect a president to build a new democracy -- a free Lebanon."

The attack exacerbated an already tense situation in Lebanon since the war with Israel in 2006, followed by a political stalemate between the ruling majority and the opposition, two political assassinations and a standoff between Sunni militants and the Lebanese army, in which some 400 were killed.

Lebanon's parliament was scheduled to convene Sept. 25 to choose a successor to President Emile Lahoud, whose extended mandate expires in November. Under the Lebanese Constitution, the presidential post is reserved for a Maronite Catholic.

Anger, unease permeate Lebanon after assassination of politician (Catholic News, 21/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Antoine Ghanem (Wikipedia)
Cardinal Pierre Nasrallah Sfeir
Maronite Church, Lebanon

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24 Sep 2007