Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai of Lebanon has claimed that Muslims plan to use their rising birthrate to conquer Europe and the West.
The cardinal, who heads the Maronite Church, spoke to Italian magazine Famiglia Christiana a few days after the conclusion of the Roman Catholic Synod on the Family at the Vatican late last month.
"I've heard several times by Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: faith and the birthrate," Rai asserted. "For them, the practice of the faith is essential and fundamental."
"They believe it is God's will to procreate and that marriage is aimed at this. In the same way, you see that we hardly get married and do not make a lot of children," Rai said. "If they are many, they think they can impose on us."
The Catholic cardinal said that while there are plenty of moderate and peaceful Muslims, which Christians have co-existed with in the Middle East, some are being influenced by a radical presence, the Islamic State terror group, which uses fear and intimidation as tools to subjugate and pacify the population into acquiescing to its demands. One of those demands is the persecution of Christians.
Rai, 75, echoed other Middle Eastern Christians who've said IS must be defeated militarily, and added that the flood of migrants will not end until the root problem of persecution and conflict is addressed.
"European states quarrel with each other [about] the number of refugees to be admitted but do not act to end the conflict," he said.
Rai called on European leaders to be pro-active, and not just reactive, in order to end the crisis.
"A Middle East without Christians, in the words of Benedict XVI, has no identity. That is the place of all the divine revelation: there Jesus took flesh, died and rose again," he said.
"There, the Church was born and started to proclaim the Gospel to the world."
The cardinal continued by asserting that Muslims live with misconceptions about Christianity in the region. "They say that Christians are the remains of the Crusades and of Western imperialism and we respond that we are in the land six hundred years before you."
Rai further argued that Muslims believe Christians are stuck in the past in their worship of Christ and that not only is the Islamic prophet Muhammad, not Christ, the final revelation of God, but Christians are displaced in their religion and faith.
He told Famiglia Christiana that if war continues in the region and spreads into Lebanon it will mean the end of Christianity in the region.
"What will be left of us? The Lebanese people emigrated. What will remain of the Lebanese culture, economy? If the war continues for us [it] will be the end."
According to London-based Independent, President Obama refused to meet with Rai during his visit to the United States in 2011 because he backed the Assad regime out of fear of a hardline Islamic takeover in the region.
In a 2012 story from Reuters that defended Assad's government, Ria noted:
"Syria, like other countries, needs reforms which the people are demanding," he said. "It's true that the Syrian Baath regime is an extreme and dictatorial regime but there are many others like it in the Arab world."
"All regimes in the Arab world have Islam as a state religion, except for Syria. It stands out for not saying it is an Islamic state. ... The closest thing to democracy (in the Arab world) is Syria."
"We are not defending it. But we regret that Syria, which wants to take a step forward ... is undergoing this violence and destruction."