Peace Be Upon You

Scholar and peacemaker Riad Kassis, from the perspective of a region in crisis, calls all of us to hope and generosity.

“We talk about peace in our region; we have a greeting that says, peace be upon you, and we respond, and be upon you as well. But it is just a greeting. We would like to see it in practice.”  

When Riad Kassis was a teenager, he and his family left their home in Lebanon during a civil war and took refuge next door, in Syria. These days, living back in Lebanon not far from the Syrian border, the situation is reversed: around 2 million refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war are now living in Lebanon, a country with a total population of 5 million.  

This is just one of the crises faced by Lebanese people: economic collapse, the wake of the terrible explosion in Beirut in 2020, the pandemic of course, and the recent earthquake in the region have caused continual turbulence and hardship.  

This week on Life & Faith, Dr Kassis describes what life is like in the midst of continual crisis, and what helps him to hope for more peaceful days. An Old Testament scholar, he also discusses feelings of frustration with God, and shares some of his wife Izdihar’s work with Syrian refugees, especially young women. And he has a message of encouragement for Australians specifically.