On Monday 18 August 2014, a delegation representing the Churches in Sweden met with His Holiness Aram I at St. Mary’s Monastery in Bikfaya.
The delegation is meetng with the Heads of Churches in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq in order to assess the situation of victims in the Middle East. Their Churches are providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the conflicts in the region.
After thanking them for their assistance and visit, His Holiness briefed them on the general situation, and detailed for them the situation of Christians in Syria and Iraq. In response to their questions, the Catholicos said that fundamentalist Islam threatens not only the immediate victims in the region, but all Muslims as well, and in fact the whole world. The West must not feel safe from that threat. He said that short-term military strikes are not a solution. Rather, there must be a plan that includes long-term diplomacy and strategic planning in cooperation with all Muslim countries and the establishment of participatory structures of decision-making. In the meantime, measures must be taken to protect human rights and the freedom of religion and minorities. He then concluded, “The presence of Christians in the Middle East and Christian-Muslim dialogue and cooperation are vital not only for the people in the region but also for the whole world.”