CWN - Father Naaman Rawik, a Syrian priest now in Lebanon, has issued a statement to the members of the rebel Islamist militias who destroyed his parish.

The statement was translated into French by the Catholic organization Fraternité Chrétienne Sarthe-Orient and subsequently excerpted in English by the Fides news agency.

“You have erased all Christian traces, destroying our churches and offending their patron saints, taking possession of our homes and pushing pastors and their parishioners into exile,” the priest said. “Thank you, for your actions are a reflection of what you are … because a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. ‘By their fruits you shall know them,’ says the Bible.”

“Is not Islam in the continuity with Abraham, who is the father of all believers and the religion behind which we Christians started walking 600 years before you?” he added.

He continued, “Return to your holy books, learn from them true Islam,” which “can demonstrate, through the verses of the Qur’an, that you have become strangers of the book and the teaching of Allah on tolerance, that you are now strangers to our authentically Arab way of living, that you are totally foreign to the traditions of respect in which we grew up, Muslims and Christians in Syria.”

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