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Lebanon a safe haven but Middle Eastern Christians still at risk

The arrival of Iraqi Christians in Lebanon is significant, as the country has historically been considered a safe haven for Christians in the Levant, and requires considerable diplomatic support from religious and political authorities in the region.
Iraqi Christians displaced by the violence in their country wait in line to receive aid from a Chaldean Catholic Church truck in Beirut August 13, 2014. Well financed and armed, Islamic State insurgents have captured large swathes of territory in a summer offensive, as the Iraqi army - and now Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the self-governing north - have crumbled in the face of its onslaught, massacring Shi'ites and minority Christians and Yazidis as they advance.  REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON - Tags: POLI
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The expulsion of Christians from cities in northwestern Iraq at the hands of Islamic State (IS) militants is still resonating and felt throughout Lebanon for different reasons. The first is that Lebanon comprises the largest number of Christians compared to other countries in the Levant. Second, Christians assume leadership positions in Lebanon, allowing them to raise issues, take a stance and make demands, a luxury that Christians in neighboring countries do not enjoy.

In addition, the churches concerned with the tragedy of Christians in Mosul and the Ninevah Plains — such as the Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac churches — are currently all located in Lebanon in terms of religious headquarters, followers and religious officials. The presence in their homeland has become very limited and mostly silent. For these reasons, a meeting was held on Aug. 7 at the summer headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate in Diman, a village in the north of Lebanon, which was attended by all the Levantine patriarchs.

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