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The Christmas wish of a young Christian refugee

In an interview with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the 12-year-old Syrian boy living in Lebanon said: “I have become a refugee, just like the Child Jesus, who also had to flee together with his parents.”

Majed and his family are grateful for the help they have received in their new home. But at times the sense of loss can be overwhelming.

“Sometimes my family gets sad and feels nostalgic. And there are also tears when daddy tells us that we once had a beautiful house, light and spacious,” said Majed, whose name means “Noble” or “Glorious” in Arabic.

“The church used to be decorated and welcoming for everyone at Christmas time, but now everything has disappeared.”

Majed was only three years old when his family fled Syria, a country with a population of 17 million bordering Lebanon.

His father, Basman Abboud, told ACN that after the war broke out in 2011, at least 50 people died in six months in his neighborhood.

“We endured it for a year, living in hell — with no work, no electricity, no schools, no food,” he said. “We daily ran the risk of being shot by snipers. The closure of the schools left an entire generation without education.”

Terrorist groups summed up their aim with a slogan: “The Alawites to the grave, the Christians to Beirut.”

The Alawites, or Alawi, are a Shiite Muslim group whose members include Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Beirut is the capital of Lebanon, a country of around seven million people, roughly a third of whom are Christians.

“They attacked us with guns, although we were completely defenseless,” Majed’s father told ACN, a pontifical foundation formed in 1947.

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