From Iraq - An urgent message from Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad
Mosul Christians: Whither?
To all who have a living conscience in
Iraq and all the world
To the voice of moderate brother
Muslims who have a voice in Iraq and all the world
To all who have a concern that Iraq could
remain a country for all His Children
To all leaders of thought and opinion
To all who announce the freedom of the
To all protectors of the dignity of
human beings and of religion
PEACE AND MERCY FROM GOD!
exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation
of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of
events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the
city and its environs.
The initial sign
was in the kidnapping of the two nuns and 3 orphans who were released after 17
days. At the time, we experienced it as a flash of hope and as a clearing of
the sky after the appearance of storm clouds.
Suddenly we have
been surprised by the more recent outcomes which are the proclamation of an
Islamic state and the announcement calling all Christians and clearly asking
them to convert to Islam or to pay the joziah (the tax all non- Muslims
must pay while living in the land of Islam) – without specifying the exact
amount. The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only
the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law,
upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are
instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.
In recent days,
there has been written the letter ‘N’ in Arabic on the front wall of Christian
homes, signifying ‘Nazara’ (Christian), and on the front wall of Shiite homes,
the letter ‘R’ signifying ‘Rwafidh’ (Protestants or rejecters). We do not know
what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al – sharia or
Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the
issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian
based upon religion or sect afflicts the Muslims as well and contravenes the
regulation of Islamic thought which is expressed in the Quran which says, “You
have your religion and I have my religion” and yet another place in Quran
states, “There is no compulsion in religion”. This is exactly the contradiction
in the life and history of the Islamic world for more than 1400 years and in
the co – existence with other different religions and nations in the East and
in the West.
With all due
respect to belief and dogmas, there has been a fraternal life between
Christians and Muslims. How much the Christians have shared here in our East
specifically from the beginnings of Islam. They shared every sweet and bitter
circumstance of life; Christian and Muslim blood has been mixed as it was shed
in the defense of their rights and lands. Together they built a civilization,
cities, and a heritage. It is truly unjust now to treat Christians by rejecting
them and throwing them away, considering them as nothing.
It is clear that
the result of all this discrimination legally enforced will be the very
dangerous elimination of the possibility of co – existence between majorities
and minorities. It will be very harmful to Muslims themselves both in the near
and the distant future.
direction continue to be pursued, Iraq will come face to face with human,
civil, and historic catastrophe.
We call with all
the force available to us; we call to you fraternally, in a spirit of human
brotherhood; we call to you urgently; we call to you impelled by risk and in
spite of the risk. We implore in particular our Iraqi brothers asking them to
reconsider and reflect upon the strategy they have adopted and demanding that
they must respect innocent and weaponless people of all nationalities,
religions, and sects.
The Holy Quran has
ordered believers to respect the innocent and has never called them to seize
the belongings, the possessions, the properties of others by force. The Quran
commands refuge for the widow, the orphaned, the poor, and the weaponless and
respect “to the seventh neighbor.”
We call Christians
in the region to act with reason and prudence and to consider and to plan
everything in the best way possible. Let them understand what is planned for
this region, to practice solidarity in love, to examine the realities together
and so be able together to find the paths to build trust in themselves and in
their neighbors. Let them stay close to their own Church and surround it;
endure the time of trial and pray until the storm will be over.
† Louis Raphael Sako
Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldean
17 July 2014
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