Vatican Radio is reporting that Italian Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio may be expelled from Syria. International news media has reported that the founder of the monastic community at Deir Mar Musa al-Habachi, near Nabak, has been notified by authorities to quit the nation he has called home for 30 years.
Fr. Dall’Oglio is a renowned promoter of dialogue between Christians and Muslims and has been engaged in efforts for internal reconciliation, particularly in the current crisis.
“I’ve been here 30 years, I have worked at the Christian-Muslim dialogue, I have worked to create a monastic community dedicated to the service of harmony between Islam and Christianity, which is a priority worldwide. There are about twenty people in all – brothers and sisters – from different countries: we all learn Arabic, all study Eastern Christianity and Islam. During the latest, painful crisis, we are committed to freedom of opinion, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and we are trying to work, to cooperate for a progressive access to a mature democracy, for the emergence of a civil society, a dialogue that ensures national unity, the protection of diversity and the enhancement of specificity, a democracy without a primacy of one group over others, rather we are trying to nurture the building of a national consensus. This requires tools. We believe, will believe until the end, in reconciliation, through dialogue, negotiations in order to avoid the suffering of the people and build a future other than that of hatred and revenge”.
Last week Syria condemned the vote by the Arab League to impose sanctions against Damascus as a betrayal of Arab solidarity.
By a vote of 19 to 3, the League’s foreign ministers decided to adopt sanctions to pressure Damascus to end its deadly suppression of an 8-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.
They include a flight ban on senior members of the Syrian regime, a halt to transactions with Syria’s central bank and a suspension of flights into the country.