Chaldean Patriarch Recounts Christian Persecution by ISIS

News: World News
by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 5, 2016   

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BAGHDAD (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a letter released Friday, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako recounts two years of oppression Chaldean Christians have suffered owing to ISIS in Iraq.

It has been two years since the Islamic State overtook Mosul and the Nineveh Plain — both centers of Catholicism in the war-torn country of Iraq — destroying ancient churches, tombs of saints, libraries and any vestiges of civilization.

Patriarch Sako went on a campaign to alert the world to the carnage happening in the cradle of civilization, but he believes his words fell on deaf ears. He has spoken out against outrages done to Christians at the hands of the present Iraqi government, namely the forced conversion of children.

Others have joined in Patriarch Sako's efforts, especially Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, who lamented Thursday, "This present genocide is happening under the eyes of the whole world, and the global indifference is stunning!"

In November 2015, Patriarch Sako accused the West of betraying Syrian and Iraqi Christians. "We Christians are not able to live in this chaos that produces militias, armed gangs, terrorist groups and Islamic parties. But when we maintain a firm stand against these phenomena, then the West accuses us of being dictatorial."

He expressed the difficulty in adopting democracy "because there is no real separation of religion from the state." He continued, "Minorities beg to be represented in front of the Muslim majority, and they feel like immigrants in a foreign land. We Christians have been in these lands for thousands of years, long before Islam."

In Friday's letter Patriarch Sako commented,

[T]errorism has not been defeated yet; the conflicts are not over; violations of human rights are still growing at different levels; the efforts for national reconciliation came to a halt; and the promises of eradicating corruption, reforming, establishing a civil government, and fighting against unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and diseases, did not go beyond being promises only.

However, he shifts to a more proactive approach, making suggestions for a "post-ISIS situation" improving the situation in Iraq for Christians and foreveryone else.

He is asking all Iraqis to unite in solidarity and call on political and religious authorities to deny legitimacy to any organization that would seek to usurp the people's rights, adding that it is a "mortal" sin to support preach, plan or fund terrorism.

"We are facing a serious 'brain pollution,'" he remarked, "which is threatening the intellectual, religious and ethnic balance that have been in this region for centuries."

He is suggesting a new culture based on "mutual acceptance, respect the humanity of human being and approval of commonly shared issues such as peace, stability, justice and equality."

He notes that human values must first be renewed before society can change. He then asks that a new political system be put into place that represents everyone equally.

The patriarch finishes by appealing to Christian refugees who have fled Iraq. "Therefore, we advise our people not [to] be afraid and keep their faith up, for the God in Whom they trust and left their homes empty-handed, will bring them back to their land safe and sound and He will put an end to this misery."

 

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