Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, and Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, held talks on Hungary providing further assistance to persecuted Christians in the Middle East, in Budapest on Wednesday, the prime minister’s press chief said.
Orban met the church leader at a working lunch, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen and Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog, Bertalan Havasi said.
Hungary provides funding for the reconstruction of a school destroyed during the hostilities, and grants state scholarship to students from the local Christian community in Hungary, he said.
Helping Christians in Syria is Europe’s duty
Helping Christians in Syria is Europe’s duty, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Human Capacities stated on Tuesday in Budapest in his welcome speech delivered as part of the conference series of the Pazmany Peter Catholic University on persecuted Christians.
Bence Retvari pointed out before the address of Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo: Christians in Syria are being persecuted because of their faith and European norms and values. A hundred years ago 20 to 30 per cent of Aleppo’s population was Christian; only 10 per cent is today.
Jean-Clément Jeanbart said in his speech that the once thriving 7,000-year-old city has been a disaster zone for more than half a decade, innocent people are suffering from senseless violence, and the country has been torn into parts. For Christian people the top priority is to restore peace, and to allow Christianity to survive in the very place where it came into being thousands of years ago.
The Archbishop of Aleppo believes that Syria is a victim of a carefully planned campaign. What happened was not the doing of the local population, but a destructive campaign. With Turkey’s intervention the situation has become much more dangerous, and the West has sold the Middle East to theocratic states for financial gain.
Jean-Clément Jeanbart warned that while people in Europe can live according to their own convictions, in places where supporters of fundamentalist Islam are in the majority they will always come first. The Archbishop added: he heard from fundamentalist Muslims that their strategy is to outgrow other groups and to become a majority by maintaining a higher birth rate.
“I am afraid many are unaware that Islamic fundamentalists do not believe in democracy. Their faith dictates that they should favour one another, regardless of who is right or wrong. To combat this, we need a kind of positive secularism so that both Christians and Muslims can feel at home. Coexistence means: live and let live”, the Archbishop said.
Greek Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clément Jeanbart asked Europe to help Syrian Christians remain in their own country.