"All Lebanese await the visit of Benedict XVI": said Hani Fash, member of the Council of the Shiites for the theologians of Lebanon, speaking at the panel "The Mediterranean Sea, Space of Encounter" held in Sarajevo at the Meeting organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio. Hani Fash recalled with pleasure the last visit of Pope John Paul II in Lebanon in 1997, saying that visit was "a great good for Lebanon and a sign of a common aspiration to the good."
"That visit - said the Shiite leader - was a great honour for us and helped us not to fall again in discord." Then, referring to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, said: "We need visits such as this one, to which all the people, in its different religious components could participate."
"Personally - continued Hani Fash - I would share the Pope's visit, and all Lebanon awaits the Pope, because this is what the Lebanese is made of, although from different religions, he wants to protect the identity of a multicultural and multireligious country ".
In this respect, aware of the decrease of Christian communities in the Middle East, the Lebanese Shiite leader said that "Lebanon is a land of freedom and cosmopolitanism, and I wonder: How could Lebanon ever live without Christians?".