Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai condemned the muder of Lebanese Forces coordinator in Jbeil Pascal Sleiman. He called on citizens “to show calm and self-restraint in this delicate and tense political, security and social situation.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Rai also urged “the judiciary and the security forces to do their duty by inflicting the most severe sanctions on the criminals” responsible for Sleiman’s kidnapping and assassination.

After offering his heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased, Rai said thst he was saddened “like all loyal Lebanese by the tragedy of the kidnapping and murder of dear Pascal Sleiman.”

“We all hoped he would still be alive, and that’s what was said at the start, but the bitter truth was quite different. I prayed for the rest of his soul and the consolation of his family, hit by the sword of grief, and of his comrades in the Lebanese Forces party, led by Dr. Samir Geagea, the party leader,” he added.

Above all, the Maronite patriarch praised the wisdom of the bereaved wife’s words, which had set “a great example for the Lebanese.” “We are the children of resurrection, the children of hope,” she declared, as the patriarch recalled in his statement. “She did not utter the word revenge or murder,” he praised, adding, “may God protect Lebanon and its people from evildoers.”

He also called on “the media to refrain from misinterpretation and from fanning the flames of discord.”

Concurrently, Rai met Lebanese army general Joseph Aoun in Bkerke. On Tuesday morning, he also received Lebanese Forces MPs Ziad Hawat and Melhem Riachi to follow up on Sleiman’s murder.