Persecution of Non-Muslims (Lebanon)

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Note that the persecution of apostates and the persecution of homosexuals are covered in separate pages

“We will enter their bedrooms, pierce their stomachs, slaughter them and slice their throats.” Hezbollah emptying the south of its Christian residents. 6,500 men, along with their families, flee Lebanon

A series of on going flagrant atrocities are inflicted by the Lebanese official authorities and the terrorist Hezbollah armed militia against our Lebanese brothers and sisters that have been taking refuge in neighboring Israel since May 2000. In the aftermath of the Israeli army’s withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000, 6,500 southern Lebanese men, along with members of their families had no option but to leave their towns, villages and abandon all their properties and hastily run for their lives. While Israel was logistically preparing for the withdrawal, Hezbollah waged a merciless and savage media campaign against the southern Lebanese citizens. The campaign was aired publicly on all local and international TV channels and radio stations. The most frightening threats were uttered personally by Hezbollah's General Secretary, Sheik Nasrallah, who savagely said, “We will enter their bedrooms, pierce their stomachs, slaughter them and slice their throats.”

Our people declined from continuing the fight and chose to leave, not because of fear of combat or death only, but most importantly to avoid more Lebanese bloodshed, while the central government did not dare to assume its national responsibilities and obligations.

Since 2000, many of these 6500 individuals risked returning to Lebanon. On their return they were immediately arrested, humiliated, tortured and charged with treason and collaboration with an enemy (Israel). Their trials were extremely hasty, biased, scandalous and terrible infringement on all judicial international standards and human rights charters. Even after serving their imprisonment terms they were all stripped of their civil rights and officially tagged as traitors. Very few of those who served their imprisonment terms were able to return to their homes and towns in the south because the terrorist Hezbollah, and not the Lebanese authorities is in full control of that region.

Many of these unfortunate Lebanese refugees willingly left Israel and are now living in the USA, Canada, Australia, and numerous European countries. All of them are afraid to go back home, because of the kind of falsified and fabricated Hezbollah-Tailored charges that are waiting for them the moment they land in Lebanon. Those who did return ended in jail after unfair and biased trials with harsh verdicts.

In the context of Hezbollah’s fanaticism, revenge and hatred, and in the realm of its ongoing scheme to empty the southern region of its Christian inhabitants, the Lebanese military court sentenced on February 01/2010 with a stroke of a pen 34 citizens in absentia (living as refugees in Israel and other countries) with verdicts ranging from 3 to 15 years of imprisonment with hard labor and stripped them of their civil rights.

Even those who return from Israel to Lebanon as dead bodies in coffins are tagged as traitors, disgraced and humiliated. The Lebanese government exploited by Hezbollah’s terrorism, manipulation and control, has been desecrating the sanctity of death, which is not a Lebanese virtue.
Hezbollah is emptying south Lebanon from its Christian residents
Elias Youssef Bejjani, International Analyst Network, February 16, 2010

Thousands of Muslims riot in Christian neighborhood on Sunday, setting fire to the Danish Consulate, attacking a prominent church, and smashing cars and windows. At least 30 people injured and one dead

Thousands of Muslims rioted in downtown Beirut on Sunday, setting fire to the Danish Consulate, attacking a prominent Maronite Catholic church and smashing car and shop windows in protest against the publication of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in Western newspapers.

The pandemonium took a sectarian turn as demonstrators cut an angry path through a predominantly Christian neighborhood.

It was the first time in days of protests around the world that Muslims, who consider the caricatures blasphemous, took their anger out on another community. For Lebanese, the rioting was an unsettling echo of a 15-year civil war fought along religious lines.

The riots came a day after similar unrest flared in the Syrian capital, causing some here to question whether Syria could be latching on to the controversy — and generalized anti-Western sentiment — for political purposes.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora suggested that the riots in Damascus were "a lesson to some in Lebanon to do the same." There was no immediate response from Damascus.

In Beirut, where religious tensions have fueled generations of political violence, rioting dragged on for hours in the Christian neighborhood of Achrifiyeh, leaving at least 30 people injured and one dead, Associated Press reported.

Interior Minister Hassan Sebaa offered his resignation later Sunday in an emergency Cabinet meeting, as accusations mounted that security forces were too slow to respond to the mobs.

Wielding hammers, rocks and wooden clubs, Muslim demonstrators packed the streets, chanting slogans against Jews and America. Many of the demonstrators marched calmly, but others set cars and trash cans on fire, smashed a police car into the side of a church and uprooted trees.

As they moved through the streets toward the Danish Consulate, some demonstrators spray-painted slogans on storefronts and ripped down commemorative posters of Gibran Tueni, the critic of Syria and Christian newspaper publisher who was assassinated in December.

"This is not violence, this is the right of every Muslim to fight for the prophet," said Ali Allameh, a bearded cleric whose hair was tied back with a bandanna. "Those who insult the prophet are not people, are not human beings. They're pigs and chimpanzees. Even pigs are better than these people."

The demonstrations in Beirut were the latest venting of outrage in a conflict between freedom of the press and religious sensitivities. European governments defend the publication of the cartoons — one of which depicts the prophet Muhammad with a turban shaped like a bomb — by citing freedom of the press.
Beirut Rioters Attack Church
Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2006

Christian mother and her pregnant daughter held hostage by Muslims in their home for 15 hours, then brutally murdered. Pregnant daughter decapitated and dismembered

Three Christian women suffered violent deaths over New Year’s weekend in Lebanon. A mother and her married daughter from a village northeast of Tripoli were taken captive in their homes on Sunday night, January 2, and held hostage for 15 hours. On the following afternoon, Salwa Raad and her pregnant daughter, Sara Yazbek, were brutally murdered by presumed Islamist extremists in a shoot-out with the Lebanese army. The mother and daughter were members of the Kfar Habou Baptist Church, which overflowed with local mourners for the January 5 funeral.
Christians Mourn Three Savage Murders
Compass Direct, January 21, 2000
...Islamic militants who on the same day murdered two Catholic women in Northern Lebanon. One of the women was pregnant and was found hacked to pieces (Zen it, Jan. 7, 12, 2000).
31 missionaries killed
Catholic Insight, March 1, 2000

New Year’s weekend: 60-year-old Maronite nun raped, beaten, then strangled to death by Islamic militants

On January 3, the body of 60-year-old Sister Antoinette Zaidan, a Maronite nun, was discovered on the grounds of Beirut University in Lebanon. She had been raped and strangled by Islamic militants
31 missionaries killed
Catholic Insight, March 1, 2000
East Beirut, the body of Sister Antoinette Zeidan was found on the night of January 2 lying by a road near the Lebanese University campus. Zeidan, 60, had planned to spend New Year’s Eve with her family. It was two days later before her body was found; she had been sexually assaulted and beaten before being strangled.
Christians Mourn Three Savage Murders
Compass Direct, January 21, 2000

American Christian, a nurse and missionary, gunned down with three pistol shots to her head. Husband forgives her killers, and leading Sunni Muslim cleric says he does not condemn her killing

In an apparent backlash by extremist Muslims, an American woman in southern Lebanon was shot and killed November 21. An unknown assassin gunned down Bonnie Penner Witherall, 31, with three pistol shots to her head shortly after she began her morning shift at the Unity Center, a prenatal clinic that provides care to women in Sidon and the Ein al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp. Lebanese investigators have declined to comment on possible motives for the murder, but militant Muslims had expressed opposition to the evangelical church’s presence in the port city for more than a year. Outspoken Muslim cleric Sheikh Maher Hammoud publicly accused Witherall’s congregation of “trying to exploit the poverty (of Muslim children) to get them to change their religion.” The day after her death, Witherall’s husband Gary told the press he had forgiven her killers, just as she would have herself. “God led us to Lebanon, and we knew that we might die,” he said.
American Missionary Gunned Down
Compass Direct, December 14, 2002
There's little in the Times story to suggest that maybe Sidon's Muslims, not Christians, might be the real problem. Amazingly, that reporting falls to Reuters, which strictly prohibits the use of the word terrorist in its reporting. "A day after the shooting … a leading Sunni Muslim cleric in south Lebanon said he did not condemn her killing," the news service reports today. Sheikh Maher Hammoud said, "We do not condemn, but we want a different method than this one to show that our whole society is against the American policy and not only a small group or individual carrying out killing. We want our society to become a resistance and work against the Great Satan; the oppressive and criminal America … Actions of killing and bombings that target Americans in any place … are an expression of Muslim condemnation of U.S. policy."

Arab convert to Christianity killed in bomb blast aimed at a European missionary family who had been “repeatedly threatened” during 20 years of ministry in Lebanon

An Arab convert to Christianity was killed in a bomb blast last night outside his Tripoli apartment, adjacent to the home of a European missionary family thought to have been targeted in the attack.

Jamil Ahmed al-Rifai, 28, died instantly when a 4.5-pound bomb exploded just before midnight in the Qubba suburb of Tripoli, Lebanon’s northern port city.

Despite reports on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network that al-Rifai had himself planted the bomb, eyewitnesses confirmed that the Jordanian Christian was an innocent victim of the attack.

According to Dutch missionary Gerrit “Joep” Griffioen, who survived the attack, his wife had spotted an intruder in the garden next to their ground-floor apartment about 11:30 last night. When Griffioen shouted at the man from his kitchen balcony, he was squatting down with “something glimmering between his hands,” the Dutchman told a close friend in Tripoli today.

Griffioen quickly called his next-door neighbor, al-Rifai, to help him investigate.

By the time the two men got into the garden, the intruder had fled, leaving an object that flickered in the dark. With his bare hands, Griffioen smothered the lit fuse, and then they moved the packet further away from the house. Thinking that they had extinguished the bomb, they looked briefly for the intruder and then returned to the building.

But shortly after Griffioen went back into his home, the bomb exploded, shattering windows of the nearby houses and damaging parked cars. Only after summoning the police to the scene did Griffioen realize that al-Rifai had remained out in the garden, where he was killed by the blast.

A Jordanian citizen, al-Rifai had lived and studied in Lebanon for the past six years. According to the Christian advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC), al-Rifai left Jordan in 1997 “because of pressure from the authorities over his conversion to Christianity.”

Griffioen told the Dutch Associated Press (ANP) today that he had been “repeatedly threatened” during his 20 years of ministry in Lebanon, but he had never taken the threats seriously.

He was “almost 100 percent certain,” the Dutchman said, that the motive for the attack was religious. While there was widespread interest in the teachings of Jesus Christ among the Lebanese people, he said, there were also “people who took offense.”

Griffioen and his wife Barbel have three children.

The deadly Tripoli bombing was the second attack against Christian missionaries in Lebanon in the past six months.
Jordanian Christian Killed in Lebanon Attack
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct, May 7, 2003

“It is the beginning of a new series of attacks,” Estonian cyclists abducted, and bomb blast in front of an Orthodox church’s main entrance leaves 1 wounded and damages church interior, cars, and nearby houses

A terrorist attack was carried out against the Syro-Orthodox Church of Our Lady of Zahle overnight on Saturday. Just after 4 am, a 2-kg device with TNT, nails and pieces of metal, exploded in front of the church’s main entrance, devastating the interior as well as parked cars and nearby houses. A man, Assad Bechara, was wounded when some pieces of glass struck his legs. Benedict XVI was probably referring to this and similar episodes yesterday, during the Angelus, when he said, “Finally, my thoughts turn to the authorities and citizens of the Middle East, where in recent days there have been several incidents of violence, so that the path of dialogue and reconciliation be privileged in the search for a just and brotherly coexistence.”

The attack did not discourage the faithful however, who took part in the Sunday morning Mass celebrated by Mgr Boulos Safar, the Syro-Orthodox bishop of Zahle, on the damaged parvis of the church.

The Minister of Culture, Salim Wardy, some members of the National Assembly, the local security chief in the Bekaa as well as the president of the Syriac League in Lebanon took part in the function.

In his homily, Mgr Safar said, “This attack is a message to undermine security in Lebanon”, but the “Church will not close its doors, whatever the consequences.”

Many take the abduction of a group of Estonian cyclists near Zahle a few days ago and this attack as a sign that terrorist groups are back in action.

Outgoing Minister Elie Marouni said it was a message, whilst Amin Gemayel, historic leader of the Phalange, said he feared the Zahle bomb was just the beginning of a new series of attacks.

Muslims bully Christian minority by illegally seizing large areas of church land and beating and expelling Christian farmers from their own uncontested land. Now Muslims armed with guns occupy Lebanese church

For over two week the Maronite Church has been involved in strenuous efforts to reclaim large areas of land which has been taken over by part of the Shiite population of Lassa, a village in the district of Jbeil Mount Lebanon. The affair erupted when official land surveyors tried survey land on which stands a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. Since 2011 the building has been used, against the advice of the Church as a place of worship for women. In spite of all the past efforts to regulate this sensitive and highly symbolic issue the chapel key was never returned to the Church. For several days the population has prevented the team, with the threat of arms, from carrying out the survey.

The conflict has ancient roots, some details date as far back as the nineteenth century. So the Shiites population claims that the Maronite chapel was already a Shiite place of worship. The Maronite Patriarchate, for its part argues that the plot of land was purchased by the Maronite Church in the nineteenth century, as supported by documents such as title deeds and cadastral surveys dating to 1939. These are the facts that the Church seeks to confirm today, once and for all, with the help of the Lebanese state.

The use of threats by the Shiite population of Lassa has awakened feelings of confessional hostility in Maronite environments. Nurtured by certain personalities this anger has begun to manifest itself. To avoid exacerbating these feelings the patriarchate of Bkerke called a meeting involving all parties concerned, including representatives of Hezbollah and the Amal Shiite movement. The patriarch chaired the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the police and army. Closing the meeting, and confirming his original direction, the Patriarchate has appointed a commission to resolve the legal problem, expressing the desire to confine the issue to a strictly legal framework and avoid any political and confessional drift.

Legal documents show that the land belongs to the Maronite Church in the village where a Shiite majority and a Maronite minority coexist in about 3.6 million square meters, divided into 95 plots. The plots were registered in 1939. Over 80 cases of trespassing on land belonging to the Maronite Church have been registered, in the form of illegal construction or unauthorised agricultural use. Most buildings were built at the beginning of this century, thanks to the mayor's illegal authorization of the village and with the passive complicity of the local police, responsible for repressing violations of construction law.

Moreover, not content with occupying the Church land illegally, the Shiite population prevents the development of Christian farmers on their own uncontested agricultural land. To the point that one of them was beaten and kicked off the land that he had rented. The lawyers of the Patriarchate, who are in direct contact with a Hezbollah official, Ghaleb Abu Zeinab, ensure that this party does not give political cover to the families illegally occupying the property of the Maronite Church, and that an attitude of firmness is required by all so that justice is done.

At present this is the situation. The cadastral surveys have been suspended, waiting, as usual, for the political forces to take the necessary steps, within the village, in favour of a compromise. But what compromise are they speaking about? Will force eventually win over justice? The antagonistic political forces spy on each other, they watch each other, while the fire smoulders beneath.

Muslims protest and issue threats against vendors of Christian-run shops that sell alcoholic beverages, forcing some to close their businesses

Protests have been made and threats issued over recent months against Christian-run shops that sell alcoholic beverages in the South of Lebanon, a 'feudal' territory 'belonging' to the Shiite Islamic Hezbollah movement and its militias.

In the latest case reported by the Marakaziya agency, a young tradesperson received anonymous threats in the post with a warning that they should close down their shop in Kferwe', in the Nabatiyeh region.

A report in today's edition of L'Orient le Jour states that the 24-year-old shopkeeper, identified by the surname of Yaacoub, immediately reported the incident to the police, who have opened an enquiry into the incident. Meanwhile, inhabitants of the Christian-majority village have expressed their solidarity with him. The young man has now moved to Kferwe' after closing another shop in Nabatiyeh after a demonstration was organised against him in that town.

Over the past few days, another shopkeeper selling alcoholic products in Houla, in the province of Marjeyoun, saw his shop being targeted by a group of unknown persons throwing empty beer bottles.

Violent campaign to rid Lebanon of alcohol continues, bomb blasts target nightclub and alcohol shop in the Christian quarters of Tyre

Two bombs targeting a nightclub and a liquor store exploded early Wednesday in the Lebanese city of Tyre, one of the few areas of the conservative south where alcohol is available.

There were no casualties in the 5:00 am (0300 GMT) blasts but they caused severe damage to property, a security official told AFP.

The army cordoned off the area and launched an investigation.

One of the bombs targeted the Elissa Queen Hotel on the seafront of the scenic Mediterranean coastal town. The hotel and nearby buildings were immediately evacuated.

The hotel nightclub is a favourite with UN peacekeepers deployed in south Lebanon, an AFP correspondent in the town said.

The second bomb struck a shop selling alcohol in the Christian quarters of Tyre, a multi-confessional city especially popular with tourists during the summer season.

A string of liquor stores in south Lebanon were forced to close this year in the face of a campaign to rid the south of alcohol.

Alcohol is widely available in multi-confessional Lebanon, which is considered the most liberal country in the Arab world.

It is banned, however, in areas under the control of Shiite militant group Hezbollah and radical Sunni movements.

Christian pastor tracked down and abducted after he baptized a Muslim girl who, after being trapped in her parents’ house, escaped and came to him, wishing to become a Christian

Beirut, Jerusalem, "DPA - were kidnapped by unidentified patron of the Church of Our Lady of aid in eastern Lebanon, Monday, after he was baptized a Muslim girl ran away from her family.

The agency said the Lebanese National Media "unknown persons traveling in two cars intercepted Father Walid Gharios in his car on the road to Baalbek and abducted him."

The agency said based on preliminary information that the reason for the abduction back to the Father "baptized a Muslim girl Ahrobhamn after her parents' house."

It said security forces working to pursue the kidnappers.

The Baalbek, located 100 kilometers north-east of Beirut, is a stronghold of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Two "unknown assailants" open fire with rifles on Saint Joseph Church in Bqosta near Sidon, damaging the building’s windows

Two unknown assailants opened fire on a church in the town of Bqosta near Sidon on Saturday night, the National News Agency reported on Sunday.

According to the NNA, the assailants shot at the town’s Saint Joseph Church with hunting rifles, damaging the building’s windows.

The report also said that Internal Security Forces members arrived at the scene of the incident and launched an investigation to determine the whereabouts and identities of the assailants.
Assailants open fire on church near Sidon
NOW Lebanon, September 30, 2012