Lebanon Arrests Christian Leader
By Micah Halpern
The Maronite Archbishop of the Holy Land, headquartered in Haifa, serves as the leader of the Maronite Church in Israel. Upon his return to Lebanon from Israel, the Archbishop was subjected to an intense search.
Because of his special role numerous exceptions are made for Archbishop Moussa El-Hage to travel back and forth between these countries which have no diplomatic relations. The Archbishop brings aid and assistance and money to support his parishioners.
While not actually arrested, the Archbishop who has been vocal in his call to stop calling all Israelis terrorists and traitors, was charged with treason.
Judge Akiki who was hearing the case said: "I respect the church, but there is a law that is the boycott of Israel and it is my duty as a judge to implement it".
Maronite Patriarch Rahi, who sits in Beirut Lebanon, has come to the defense of the Archbishop.
Rahi has demanded that officials rectify the situation. He stated: "What happened with Archbishop Moussa El-Hage constitutes a test of the ability of those responsible to put an end to the attack on the Maronite Church...Some were complaining about the interference of sects in the state, so the state attacked a founding sect and a cleric who was famous for his piety and serving the people, whom the state should have secured respect for in his movement between Lebanon and his diocese."
Rejecting claims that the transfer of funds from Lebanese citizens in Israel to their relatives in Lebanon is considered "working with the enemy," the Maronite Patriarch stressed that: "we affirm once again that 'working' with an enemy country has never been part of our culture, our spirituality and our dignity."
Patriarch Rahi insisted that: "We are the first to respect and defend the laws, so we ask the authorities to respect and abide by them. We are the first to respect the judiciary and defend it, but we ask judges and judicial officials to respect the sanctity of the judiciary and liberate it from maliciousness and dependence on political and sectarian forces.”
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