DIMAN, Lebanon: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called Tuesday on Levant Christians to safeguard their existence through building a diverse society with Muslims. Rai made the comments while receiving a delegation of expat youths of Lebanese origin at his summer residence in Diman.

The teenagers are in the country on a two-week trip arranged by the Lebanese Association for the Diaspora. Rai told the delegation: “You have to be proud of belonging to a nation that has both a role and a message that distinguishes it from all the other countries in the Middle East.”

He added: “The incidents taking place in the Middle East have propagated to Lebanon, and to tell you the truth the issue is not about bringing democracy to the misled Midle East but rather [about] achieving the economic and political interests of the major international forces.” Rai noted that “the biggest problem today is Sunni-Shiite strife in the region, which is an international and regional conflict. The Christians have been residing in Lebanon and the Arab countries for 2,000 years – 1,400 of them alongside the Muslims. [Link]