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MOSCOW, September 30 (Itar-Tass) - If radical elements representing Al-Qaeda come to power in Syria a genocide over religious identity, primarily against the Christians, cannot be avoided, Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko told Itar-Tass over the position of the Christians in Syria on Monday.
She recalled that the Christians in Syria constitute about ten percent of country’s population or two million people. “But the minority has the same right to protect their security, lawful interests as the majority,” Matviyenko said, noting that this is “one of fundamental principles of humanism, democracy and the rule of law state.” “Moreover, the Christianity came to rise in Syria, the Christians in that country live side by side with the Muslims for many centuries,” the speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament noted.
Now “the so-called opposition actually began to unleash a religious war in Syria,” she said. “Christian shrines - churches, monasteries and religious relics become the targets of vandalism of militants. The Catholics, representatives of the Antioch Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church and other Eastern Christian Churches in Syria are suffering,” Matviyenko noted. “The monks and nuns, priests and laymen are exposed to oppression and violence,” she added, recalling that the fate of two Orthodox priests, who were captured in the spring of this year, is still unclear, the facts of massacres against the whole families professing Christianity were reported.
Meanwhile, the speaker of the Federation Council noted, “Not only the Christians, but also the Muslims - Shiites, Alawites and Kurds are exposed to purges by radical Islamic organizations.”
“It is absolutely obvious that the forces obsessed by intolerance, aggressiveness, cruelty and religious fanaticism are eager to come to power in Syria,” Matviyenko said, noting that representatives of radical Islamic organizations, terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, make their backbones. She has no doubts that “if they succeed to seize power, genocide over religious and ethnic identity, primarily against the Christians, cannot be avoided.”
Matviyenko shares the position of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill that “the ousting of the Christians from Syria will become a tragedy for the whole world culture, whole world civilization.” “Political interests cannot and should not dominate over human values, ideals of humanism,” she noted.
Noting that public protests against the threat of genocide against the Christians in Syria are spreading in the world, the speaker of the upper house of parliament noted that this tendency “also takes place in our country, where public organizations have launched the work for humanitarian aid to the Christians in Syria and are standing up in their defence.”
“I believe that the fulfilment of the initiative of the Russian president does not only allow resolving the problem of chemical weapons in Syria, but also opens up the prospect for peaceful resolution of the conflict in that country and around it,” Matviyenko noted.
During her recent visit to Greece Matviyenko met with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II. At the meeting with the speaker of the Federation Council he urged the world community to protect the Syrian Christians from violence.