Lebanon: huge rally calls for Christian-Muslim unity

 More than 300,000 Lebanese took part in a huge rally in Beirut yesterday to mark the anniversary of the assassination of MP Rafik Hariri. The peaceful rally began with welcoming words from Ghassan Tueni who invited the crowd to repeat the oath pronounced by his own son Gibran - who was also assassinated in December 2005 - after Hariri's murder: "Never again war between Christians and Muslims." Waving flags, handkerchiefs and balloons in the blue colour of Lebanon's ruling coalition, the crowd shouted slogans against Syria and its Lebanese allies. At exactly 12:55 pm - the time of Hariri's assassination - the crowd fell silent except for a muezzin making the Islamic call to prayer and the tolling of church bells. Meanwhile, Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sent the following telegram of condolence, in the Pope's name, to His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, for Tuesday's bomb attack north of Beirut in which three people were killed and around 20 injured: "Profoundly grieved by the terrible attack that struck Lebanon this morning, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI asks Your Beatitude to express his spiritual closeness to the injured and to the relatives of the victims, and give them assurances of his prayers. Entrusting to divine providence those who died so tragically, the Holy Father invokes the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary upon the entire Lebanese nation. He calls upon the Lebanese people and their representatives to unanimously reject violence and hopes that, in this dramatic event, they may find the motivation for a commitment in favor of national unity and the common good." Source: AsiaNews/VIS

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