Chaldean Catholic Patriarch: to free Ninive province we need a peacekeeping operation and Christians enrolled in local police force. Baghdad – One month after the attack by Jihadists of Islamic State ISIS which caused the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – including 120,000 Christians from Ninive Plain towns and villages, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael I Sako, urges the faithful of his Church and other baptised persons to “face the situation as it is”, to save the local Christian communities from the danger of extinction and enable it to “continue to be leaven” in society torn apart by sectarian conflict. In a message made public today 4 September, the primate of the Chaldean Catholic Church expresses disappointment at “visible incapacity of the governmental machine to guarantee order and respect for the law.”, but his words are not limited to recrimination:
the Patriarch’s message, received by Fides today, lists a series of practical suggestions to overcome a creeping sense of fatality and powerlessness among the Iraqi people and institutions in the face of events in recent months.
Among other things Patriarch Louis Raphael I urges Christians to form a crisis management team, to collect accurate information regarding the number and dislocation of refugee families, in order to demand from the government due compensation for damage and loss of property suffered at the hands of Jihadists and their supporters. The message also suggests the formation of a committee for education, to censure the academic status and the numbers of displaced students, and then ask the government of Kurdistan to take them into their schools and universities to avoid loss of the school year.
Regarding the future of areas which have fallen under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate, the Patriarch suggests an appeal to the United Nations Security Council to form “a peace-keeping force to collaborate with Iraqi security forces and Kurd peshmerga, to free the Plain of Ninive” and guarantee the security necessary to enable refugees to return to their native villages, home of their forefathers “for thousands of years”. What is more, according to the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, it is necessary to “establish local police forces which include representatives of the different components present in the Plain of Ninive, to protect the villages, as foreseen by the new law presented by the new government”, and in this way ensure social interaction between Christians and their fellow citizens.
The Patriarch also stresses the need to take strong initiatives with the Muslim world, which aim to stop any varnish of religious legitimisation, of funds and militants sent to support Jihadisti groups. For the long term, according to Patriarch Sako revision must begin for school and university programmes, to favour the growth of a culture open to diversity, pluralism and equality among citizens, and to work as an antidote for any type of fanaticism clothed in religious justification.
By: Agenzia Fides