Lebanon, a country that has been mentioned in the Old Testament for quite a number of times, especially concerning its cedars, is back in the spotlight. Christians there have been living in the land for centuries, having established the country as a safe haven for persecuted followers of Jesus Christ in the Middle East. However, many of them have lost most of their lands as well as majority status to Muslims, which clearly places them at a disadvantage in the future.
It does not help either, that the Lebanese Christians have a pretty low birth rate compared to Muslims worldwide, and the presence of Islamic extremists in the land makes living there all the more challenging. The month of Ramadan in the Muslim calendar also brings with it its fair share of challenges, including potential suicide bombings and killings.
Dr. Fouad Abou Nader, the leader and founder of the Liberty Front (LF) Christian party in Lebanon, informed Breitbart News.“We [Lebanese Christians] went thru several genocides and persecutions. All our history back from 1400 years have been paved by persecutions. The main purpose [of establishing Lebanon] was to create a sanctuary for the continuously persecuted Christians,” an official from a new Christian political party in Lebanon told Breitbart News on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “Lebanon might be the last sanctuary country in the Middle East for Christians but will not remain so pending recent developments mainly because we are diminishing in numbers and are starting to lose our power and representation in the government.”
Just in case you are wondering what LF is all about ,it happens to be one of the most prominent Christian political movements over in Lebanon. In fact, it has been deemed by many to be a safe haven for Christians in that part of the world. However, we all know that our ultimate security and safety lies in the hand of God, and not the facade of a political party or movement.
Dr. Nader continues to share that Christians there would need to piece together a strategic plan so that their continuity will be cemented for at least the next quarter of a century, otherwise they would most probably be wiped out -- either by persecution, or being driven out of the land when the extremist Muslims there take full control of the political and governmental spheres.
There is a major influx of Muslim refugees who have streamed into Lebanon in recent years, and most of them happen to be from Syria and Palestine. This has resulted in what has been described as “a deadly demographic imbalance”. Dr. Nader said, “Their [Muslim refugees] presence creates a lot of problems for Lebanon, its economy, its development, its growth, its security, its borders, its demography, its political stability, its religious balance, etc.”
Jihadist groups are also more active during the month of Ramadan, and that has posed yet another dimension of threats for the Christian Lebanese who live there. While terrorist attacks happen throughout the whole year, the risk increases exponentially during Ramadan.
The establishment of IS (Islamic State) and other affiliated terrorist groups in recent years have worsened the situation, and during Ramadan last year, at least five people were killed in various attacks, with approximately 28 others wounded. The call of ISIS has already been sent out this Ramadan, urging ISIS followers and sympathizers to target Christians specifically. Thankfully, there have been zero attacks in Lebanon this Ramadan, but we must bear in mind that Ramadan will continue for at least 8 more days.
Right now, around 30 per cent of the population in Lebanon are Syrian refugees, thanks to Lebanese law that allows refugees to become naturalized citizens in double quick time. Let us continue to pray that Lebanon will continue to be a beacon of shining light in the darkness that is the Middle Easy, welcoming all into their country without persecuting the downtrodden and minorities. Hopefully such love will be able to break down barriers in the lives of the broken.