Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - In the municipality of Hadath, situated in the urban district of Baabda, part of the southern suburbs of Beirut, the local authorities confirm the administrative provisions aimed at preventing the lands and houses belonging to Christian owners from being sold to Muslim buyers . The mayor, George Aoun, in recent days, confirmed in some statements released to the local media that he and his team of collaborators have chosen to extend the provisions, in force since 2010, to try to keep the fragile demographic balance in that urban area. These measures - stressed George Aoun - respond to the spirit of the Lebanese Constitution, as the protection of the Christian component from any threat of erosion is in itself an essential contribution to guaranteeing peaceful interreligious coexistence in Lebanese society, protecting it from tensions and sectarian conflicts. Mayor George Aoun also reported that the choices of the municipal administration of Hadath to protect the local demographic balance enjoy the support of Lebanese President Michel Aoun (Christian Maronite), Shiite leader Hassan Nasrallah (head of the Hezbollah party) and the President of Parliament Nabih Berri, also a Shiite.
The first statue dedicated to Pope Francis in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East was inaugurated in Hadath, (see Fides 17/03/2018).
The initiative, sponsored by mayor George Aoun, wants to be a sign to encourage local Christians on the importance and fruitfulness of the presence in the Middle East, in the sign of coexistence with the different religious communities and in the horizon of a common citizenship. The inauguration of the statue took place in the presence of political and religious authorities. During the event, those present were able to listen to some speeches proposed also by Maronite Archbishop Boulos Matar and by Mgr. Ivan Santus, secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Lebanon. Sheikh Khalil Rizk, responsible for the foreign relations of the Shiite Hezbollah party, also took part in the event.
Local sources, contacted by Agenzia Fides, pointed out that the aim of the event had to be understood in the light of the problems that recently put to the test social and interreligious coexistence in the area of Hadath. In that area there is a growing real estate activism by members of the Shiite community, who aim to confiscate land and property belonging to Maronite Christian families. It is no coincidence - the sources contacted by Fides point out - the writing that appears near the statue of Pope Francis reports the words with which the reigning Pontiff invited Middle Eastern Christians to stay in the lands where they were born, to confess their faith in Christ and to offer in his name their contribution to peaceful coexistence throughout the Middle East. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 26/6/2019)