Lebanon’s ruling party asks Muslims to protect Christians

The head of a Sunni political movement in Lebanon has expressed concern over the decline of Christians in the region allegedly due to growing Shiite influence.

Ahmad Hariri, secretary-general of the Lebanese Future Movement, urged Muslims in Lebanon to “nurture Christian presence” in the region, saying it was an "Arab and Islamic responsibility as much as it is a Christian one”.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Hariri is extremely worried about the repercussions of Christian emigration from some Middle East countries.

While Christians used to be a majority in Lebanon, the country has recently witnessed decline due to emigration and the increase in Muslims.

Greg Mussleman, of Christian advocacy group Voice of the Martyrs, said the announcement is good for Christians in the Middle East

It may be unique for Lebanon, he said, because Christians are in government.

“Whether we'll see that spreading to other countries like Iraq and Afghanistan? That may never happen,” he said.

Voice of the Martyrs is asking the church to pray that Christians in Lebanon will be stronger in their faith, have the desire to grow, and be more outspoken about their faith.

Christians, Shiites and Sunnis are believed to make up roughly a third each of Lebanon’s population of four million.

Just last week, the President-elect of the Lutheran World Federation Bishop Munib A Younan voiced similar concerns about the departure of Christians from Palestine.

Christians make up two per cent of the population in Palestine but Bishop Younan said many are choosing to leave the region because of the political conflict, unemployment and political and religious extremism.

He appealed to Christians to pray that believers in Palestine would “not lose faith and lose the country”.