Bishop Angaelos on the US State Department Declaration of Genocide Against Religious Minorities in the Middle East

 

Bishop Angaelos
His Grace, Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Church

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the United States State Department declaration of Genocide for Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and other minorities in the Middle East


17 March 2016

We have received very welcomed but unexpected news today from the United States of America, through Secretary of State John Kerry, acknowledging that ISIS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims”.

This announcement has come after individuals and organisations in the United States, some of which I have personally worked with, have advocated tirelessly to shed light on this important issue of human suffering and the violation of human dignity. Continue reading “Bishop Angaelos on the US State Department Declaration of Genocide Against Religious Minorities in the Middle East”

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Frank Wolf’s Plan for Securing A Place for Christians in Iraq

Frank Wolf

Former American congressman Frank Wolf, who ‘recently co-founded the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and accepted an appointment to a newly endowed chair for religious freedom at Baylor University’, has suggested, together with his colleagues in the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative a six points plan for the preservation of Christians in Iraq. Here they are, as presented in a recent article in Christianity Today:

  • Create the Nineveh Plains province in Iraq to shelter Christians and other minorities.
  • Establish the Nineveh Protection Unit, a defensive National Guard. (This is already in formation.)
  • Allow faith-based relief and development groups to operate openly in the region.
  • Require the return of property, especially churches and monasteries, confiscated by the Islamic State.
  • Require the Kurdistan regional government to insure religious freedom for all groups.
  • Prosecute terrorists for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and if needed, for genocide.

Archbishop of Mosul on ISIS

His Eminence, Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, the Archbishop of Mosul, is weeping while explaining the misery of the Iraqi Christians, who had to leave their homes in Mosul and the surrounding villages over 3 months ago. Today, they are suffering the cold winter under the poor tents in Erbil (Kurdistan). Those Christians are still speaking Syriac (Aramaic) until today.

WorldWatchMonitor – ‘One Week’ Deadlines for Iraqi Christians to Convert or ‘Face the Sword’

Iraqi refugee camp

An Iraqi Christian Mikha Qasha, fleeing from Qaraqosh, has given a personal account of members of the Islamic State, IS, coming to his house and threatening him to leave, convert to Islam or face the sword.

Qasha told Mid-East Christian News, specializing in Christian minorities in the Middle East, that IS members gave him a week to think about it; the threat came with weapons pointed at his head.

Elderly and paralyzed, Qasha, was taken away from Qaraqosh by a friend -in his wheelchair. Eventually he found his grandson, who took him to the predominantly Christian suburb of Ankawa in the province of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region.

According to MCN Direct, others who fled from a district in Nineveh, and from Qaraqosh and Bartella, said IS is now imposing a conversion deadline of one week for any non-Muslim. Qasha’s neighbour, a young man who fled the city this week, said he was hiding in his home with his father when IS members found them on August 17. They gave them a week, until August 24, to convert to Islam or be killed. Continue reading “WorldWatchMonitor – ‘One Week’ Deadlines for Iraqi Christians to Convert or ‘Face the Sword’”

Does Pope Francis Support War? Don’t Be So Sure

American airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq
American airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq (source, AP)

Media was rampant these days with suggestions that Pope Francis supports war in Iraq (Fox News, USA Today, Business Insider, etc.). But is it really so.

Here is verbatum the question he received, and here is the actual response he gave.

* * *

Q. You know that recently the U.S. forces have started bombing the terrorists in Iraq, to prevent a genocide, to protect minorities, including Catholics who are under your guidance. My question is this: do you approve the American bombing?

A. Thanks for such a clear question. In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say this: it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means. With what means can they be stopped? These have to be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit.

But we must also have memory. How many times under this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor the powers [that intervened] have taken control of peoples, and have made a true war of conquest.

One nation alone cannot judge how to stop an unjust aggressor. After the Second World War there was the idea of the United Nations. It is there that this should be discussed. Is there an unjust aggressor? It would seem there is. How do we stop him? Only that, nothing more.

Secondly, you mentioned the minorities. Thanks for that word because they talk to me about the Christians, the poor Christians. It’s true, they suffer. The martyrs, there are many martyrs. But here there are men and women, religious minorities, not all of them Christian, and they are all equal before God.
To stop the unjust aggressor is a right that humanity has, but it is also a right that the aggressor has to be stopped so that he does not do evil.

(Source, HERE)

 

 

Why US Must Save Lives of Iraq’s Christians, Other Minorities

WEA-RLC

“The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for a generation.” This is how the national spokesman for Iraqi Christians in the United States described atrocities by Isis terrorists in northern Iraq, which include beheading of children and their mothers and fathers, and forcing almost all Christians in the region to flee. While the United States has resumed military action to deal with the crisis in Iraq, its commitment reflects half-heartedness and fails to match the enormity of suffering and potential threats.

“They are systematically beheading children, and mothers and fathers … There’s actually a park in Mosul that they’ve actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick,” Mark Arabo, the spokesman for Iraqi Christians, told CNN. “This is crimes against humanity. The whole world should come together. This is much broader than a community or faith … They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking things you can think of.”

The Episcopal Vicar of Iraq, Canon Andrew White, recently visited the town of Qaraqosh, which like many other towns and cities has been captured by the Isis, to assess the situation. “The majority of the town’s 50,000 people have fled, fearing that, like other Christians in this region, they will be massacred. The militants, in a further act of sacrilege, have established their administrative posts in the abandoned churches,” he said, according to Catholic Online. Continue reading “Why US Must Save Lives of Iraq’s Christians, Other Minorities”

World Watch Monitor – ISIS invades monastery, steals ‘everything’ from Iraqi Christians

 


Displaced Iraqi Christians who fled with families from Mosul city receives humanitarian aid at Virgin Mary church
in Qaraqosh village near Mosul city, northern Iraq (source, The Telegraph)

After every known Christian is reported to have left Mosul, Islamic State fighters, IS, have now taken over a monastery near the largely Christian town of Qaraqosh, 32 miles southeast of Mosul.

According to Agence France Presse IS expelled its three resident monks, a cleric and a few families living there, ordering them to leave on foot with nothing but their clothes.

Members of the self-proclaimed “Islamic Caliphate” stormed the ancient fourth-century monastery Mar (Saint) Behnam, run by the Syriac Catholic church on Sunday July 20.

“You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately,” a member of the Syriac clergy quoted the Sunni militants as telling the monastery’s residents.

According to AFP the monks walked several miles before being picked up by armed Kurdish fighters who drove them to Qaraqosh.

The BBC reported that Syriac Catholic leaders have said priceless manuscripts, about both the history of Iraq and the Church, are now at risk in the monastery.

Militants of IS are reported to have killed Dr. Mahmoud Al-Asali, a professor of Law at the University of Mosul on July 21.

According to Ankawa.com, Al-Asali, a Muslim, was killed for objecting to IS looting and destroying Iraqi Christians’ possessions in Mosul, but WWM could not independently verify this.

The office and residence of the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Yohanna Petros Moshe (in one building) has been burned down.

(Read HERE the rest of this article.)