People of all faithsincluding faculty and students from the Arab Baptist Theological Seminarywere among the approximately 1 million pro-independence demonstrators who poured into Beirut's Martyrs Square on Monday to chant and support "freedom, sovereignty, independence" of Lebanon and protest the Syrian control of its government. The protest, greatly outnumbering the pro-Syrian rally from a week ago (in which, according to anonymous sources, many demonstrators were bused in from Syria and many Shiite Muslims were coerced into demonstrating), signaled a return of momentum the opposition had been gaining since the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri a month ago. The killing injured the only evangelical member of the parliament, Dr. Basil Fuleihan, who at the time of the attack was in the car Hariri was driving. Fuleihan, one of 17,000 evangelicals among the 4 million inhabitants of Lebanon, was recovering from burns covering 95 percent of his body at a hospital in Paris. Arab Baptist Theological Seminary academic dean Dr. Martin Accad and provost Dr. Paul Sanders spoke with Christianity Today associate editor Agnieszka Tennant this morning and late last week about the way evangelicals in Lebanon see the unfolding events.
CT: What happened at today's protests?
Paul Sanders: Today, there was a "human tide." It is still going on as I speak and will go on until the wee hours of the night. Evangelical churches rented buses to take their church members today. They realize that their own freedom, religious as well as civil, is at stake. The demonstrators were heavily on the youthful side, but many older adults as well. The union of Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze was very evident once again. We are hopeful ...1
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