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13.03.2017 - 12: 39

Ready whether the Middle East to abandon the concept of "religious minority"?

Grand Imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar University (Egypt) and the Maronite Patriarch (Lebanon) offer guided by the principle of citizenship.

The President of Lebanon, General Michel Aoun travels to the Vatican. According to the Vatican's news blog Il sismografo, Pope Francis will take the Lebanese leader on Thursday, March 16. President of Lebanon, General Aung was elected fairly recently, in October last year, after his support of said oriented toward Saudi Arabia Chairman of the Sunni party "Al-Mustaqbal" Saad Hariri, ensuring finally necessary votes of deputies of the Lebanese parliament, which is selected chapter countries.

Recall how to construct power in the Middle East state. The current model was created in the year 1943 Lebanon in the process of gaining independence from France. In order to ensure a more equal access to the supreme authority for all religious denominations, was developed following order: president must be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister - Sunni speaker of parliament - the Shiites, and the government should be equally represented Christians and Muslims. In accordance with the confessional division were born in Lebanon and the political parties, most of which have a religious character. Christian, Sunni, Shiite, Druze parties are not fighting against each other, and for a place within a pre-defined confessional quotas.

At one time, this model seemed to be optimal. In November 2014, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See in Beirut Archbishop Gabriele Caccia suggested it even as an option for resolving the conflict in Syria. He said that Lebanon is "a model of multi-religious coexistence that could help solve violent religious conflicts in the Middle East, there is no majority or minority, but each community is a part of the whole." All other settlement plans that Syria that the Iraq operate some concepts of one dominant group, and everyone else. What is not in Beirut, in the first place. And, secondly, Lebanon on the one hand, "open to the West", on the other hand, observes the "traditional values". All this allows the Lebanese society is in equilibrium, be not a "democracy of numbers," and "democracy, common solutions." However, over time it became clear that "democracy is a common decision" does not always work. Thus, after the completion of 25 May 2014 year the mandate of the former president, Michel Suleiman, Lebanese lawmakers could not agree on a political figure that would satisfy the party of Muslims and Christians, and the split was outlined among Muslims themselves, some of which focused on Shiism and Tehran, others on Sunni and Riyadh.

Today, even the Lebanese Christians, it becomes clear that the time has come reforms. The other day he returned from Egypt, Patriarch Bechara al-Rai, the primate of the Maronite Catholic Church. Monsignor took part in the conference "Freedom and citizenship between diversity and integration", which was held in Cairo on February 28 1 March under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and it was organized by the famous Sunni university of Al-Azhar. Following the meeting, delegates from 50 the world, including the highest spiritual leaders of all Christian denominations in the Middle East, signed a declaration on co-existence between Christians and Muslims. As reported by Radio Vaticana, peruse the central topics discussed at the conference was the question of "dhimmi" - an Islamic concept, justifying civil inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims on the basis of their religious differences. According to the Supreme Imam University Muhammad Ahmad al-Tayyib, today this concept is unscientific and anachronistic. "All citizens are equal, and Christians can not be regarded as a minority: a term marked by negative connotations", - said the Grand Imam, arguing that "the joint will of the people is based on citizenship, equality and the rule of law, otherwise it is impossible to talk about whatever it any human progress. "

With these words, solidarity and the Maronite patriarch. "The word minority should disappear from our vocabulary and replace it with the concept of citizenship," - said Bechara al-Rai, adding that he had discussed this issue with President Al-Sisi and the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tavadrosom II. According to the Maronite patriarch, he felt "during a meeting with the president of Egypt, that he is deeply aware of - the salvation of the Arab world and Arab culture itself, built by us together, Muslims and Christians, it is worth that price." But saying "a", ie, that the concept of "minority" should disappear, it should be said, and "b", that is, to relinquish power unit system based on the distribution of posts among the religious communities. The question now becomes acutely relevant in the Middle East, especially in the case of Iraq. In anticipation of the release of the captured militants LIH (organization, whose activities are prohibited in Russia) number of provinces in the country among the various political parties, regional governments, ethnic and religious communities tougher debate on the future structure of Iraq. As a result, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako literally forced to conjure their co-religionists not to surrender to the temptations and not to go to split the country, yielding to the promises of creating a kind of Christian autonomy in the Nineveh plain fields.

Alternative deepening sectarian divisions in the Middle East can become a different project. In the summer, he was nominated 2015 Ahmed al-Tayyeb, when he first visited Europe to participate in the conference "East and West. Dialogues on Culture ", organized in Florence Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio. On the eve of the visit of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar called for the unification of Muslim countries following the example of the European Union in response to the attempts of fundamentalist LIH (organization, whose activities are prohibited in the Russian Federation) to establish in the Middle East "caliphate." The same idea in an interview with Radio Vaticana supported then the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, noting that "this is a bold statement, I think we should follow the path of this initiative." Of course, now that the Middle East wars are raging, and various forces are trying even harder to play off each other Shiites and Sunnis and to discord even among Christians, the idea of ​​"Muslim EU" looks fantastic. However, we can say that the EU itself has become "the fruit of" the terrible Second World War, after which the Europeans for decades came to the idea of ​​integration association, which would have made the oil instead of guns. At the same time, the religious leaders of the Middle East probably would like to avoid in this way and the other extreme, characteristic of modern Europe, the dominance of an aggressive form of laicism, the Church of the buoyancy of the public space and marginalize it.

Rejection of the concept of "religious minority - the majority" and the transition to a position equal to "citizenship" is one of the first steps to create a new Middle East. At the church level support for this idea today identified the leaders of Muslims and Christians in Egypt and the Christians in Lebanon. Word of the president and political parties. Perhaps, during the meeting of General Aoun at the Vatican with Pope Francis it becomes clear what the position of the secular authorities in relation to the initiative launched in the Middle East part of the religious community.

A source: A REGNUM

Author: Stanislav Stremidlovsky

Tags: Lebanon, Middle East, Religion, Politics, Research, Iraq