The Maronites Speak Out against a Law That Threatens Christian Lebanon

Source: FSSPX News

Beit-Mery, a mountainous village near Beirut

Cardinal Bechara Raï, patriarch of the Maronite Christians, strongly denounced on April 7 and 8, 2018, an article of the budget law that threatens the country’s national and Christian identity.

According to the new dispositions voted in on March 29, 2018, any Arabian or foreign immigrant who buys a residential unit in Lebanon can obtain a permanent residency card. The article that provides the same benefits for the buyer’s wife and minor children, lays down one condition: “The value of the purchased good cannot be less than 1 million dollars if it is in Beirut, and 500,000 dollars in other regions.”

Twice – on April 7, during the consecration of two bishops in the basilica of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, and on April 8, during Sunday Mass in Bkerke – Cardinal Raï mentioned “this law inserted as if by magic in the 2018 budget”, denouncing an excessive “generosity in selling Lebanese land.” “Are there financial and political agendas behind these offers that are harmful for the country? And to whom do they profit?” wondered the prelate.

A beginning of an answer was given by an expert contacted by the newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour. He says that “in general, it is not Europeans who are going to come buy apartments; it is persons with a specific religious affiliation.” And he points out that “several Muslims are currently building many housing complexes in Christian regions,” which, he fears, “tends to modify the configuration of these zones depending on their population.”

Other Christian personalities have voiced their disapproval, including Chamel Roukoz, a candidate for the legislative elections in the district of Kesrouan-Ftouh. During an electoral rally in Akoura, he said that “this sort of disposition will not restore the real estate sector, but simply empty the country of its people.” Mr. Roukoz exhorted the president of the Republic Michel Aoun to “intervene personally to put an end to this new phenomenon of camouflaged settlements that are being cunningly imposed,” and declared that “the preservation of the Constitution and of the Lebanese entity is in the hands of the Head of State.”

Indeed, according to the terms of the country’s Constitution, it is President Aoun who has the power to promulgate the laws, thus making them effective.