Lebanon Gets Closer to Brazil Where 12 Million Lebanese Live

    Strengthening political, cultural and economic bonds between Lebanon and Brazil. This is the main objective of the visit paid by the Lebanese representative Ismail Sukriyah to Brazil.

    Medical doctor, member of the Health Committee of the Lebanese Parliament, Sukriyah stated that his country and the city of Curitiba have many experiences to share, especially in the sectors of urbanism and public health.

    Received at the City Hall, the representative suggested that the capital of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná and the Lebanese capital became sister cities.

    On Wednesday,  May 24, the Lebanese representative covered an extensive agenda of visits to municipal and state officials, hospitals and representatives of the Arab and Muslim communities in Curitiba.

    At the Legislative Assembly, after having lunch with the president, Hermas Brandão, he received honors in official session, together with the Muslim religious Sayed Bilal Wehbe, who was a spiritual guide for the Curitiba Islamic community and currently lives in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, also in the state of Paraná.

    The Brazilian representative who proposed the homage, Marcos Isfer, recalled the Lebanese origin of his family, emphasizing the "strong ties" that bond Brazil to Lebanon.

    In his second term, Sukriyah is in his first visit to Brazil, country which has the greatest Lebanese colony in the world, estimated in 12 million people.

    "One of the aims of my journey is to bring my support, strengthen the bonds between Lebanon and Brazil and see what kind of cooperation, experience exchange and help may occur between the two nations," said the representative.

    He highlighted that Brazil has "strategic importance" in the world, is rich both economically as in natural resources and cultural diversity and has great experience in pacific and harmonious co-living with the various ethnic groups that form its people.

    As well as the mutual cultural and ethnic influence caused by the existence of a great quantity of Lebanese and descendants in Brazil, Sukriyah sees great similarity between the two countries in relation to cultural diversity.

    "For me it is a great honor to be received in Brazil, a great and wonderful nation, which took in peoples of the whole world in a way never seen before."

    Lebanon, in spite of being much smaller than Brazil in terms of size (10,452 square kilometers, half of the northeastern Brazilian state of Sergipe), it is also made up by a great variety of peoples, cultures and religions.

    Sukriyah also visited the Mosque Imam Ali, where the Muslim community of Curitiba go. Located in the Alto do São Francisco neighborhood, in the central region of the city, the Mosque became a tourist point in the city.

    At the occasion, the representative participated in the celebrations that recalled the six years of liberation of the South of Lebanon, which during 22 years was under the dominion of Israeli military occupation.

    "The UN says that the all nations under occupation has the right to free themselves. Therefore, this day is very important for our country," he says.

    Omar Nasser works for Fiep, the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná.

    Anba – www.anba.com.br

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