ICC Note: A gathering of Church leaders from the Middle East has again raised the plight of what they and their people are facing. Over the past 10 years, 10,000 Christians have been killed said Patriarch Louis Sako. They are urging for Arab and Muslim leaders to be vocal and lead the opposition against the Islamic militant group ISIS or the so-called Islamic State.
09/16/2014 Iraq (Ecumenical News) – Middle East church leaders have urged Arab governments and Muslim religious authorities to strongly denounce the Islamic State for its onslaught on minority religious communities.
Those being persecuted include Christians, Yazidis other minorities and Shia Muslims who do not follow the Sunni brand of Islam the IS purports to represent.
The Christian leaders said Tuesday that Arab leaders, including those in the Arab League, should lead in efforts to destroy the power in Iraq and Syria of the IS which claims to speak in the name of Islam.
The leaders representing Iraqi Christians, Patriarch Louis Raphaël Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church, based in Baghdad and Patriarch Ignace III Yousif Yunan, of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch, based in Beirut, attended a press conference at the United Nations in Geneva.
They were invited by Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, head of the Holy See’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. to speak on Christians in the Middle East: Citizenship, Human Rights and Their Future.
“We are calling on the religious leaders of the Muslim countries to issue a fatwa [religious edict] against the killing of any human being, not just other Muslims,” said Patriarch Sako.
“So far, their voice has been very timid.”
The Christian leaders said they have many friendly conversations with their Muslim neighbors, but when it comes to strong public pronouncements against the “genocidal actions” of the IS, their voices are not heard.
Sako said, “We are Christians and we have been here [in Iraq] for 2,000 years. In 10 years more than 10,000 Christians have been killed.”