06/09/2016, 18.07
IRAQ
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Mar Sako calls for Christian-Muslim unity to save Iraq from the madness of the Islamic State

Two years after the fall of Mosul, the Chaldean patriarch calls for brotherhood and sharing against "the struggle for power and money." The tragedy is the cause of "sadness, pain and anxiety" and “is eradicating the culture, history and memories” of local communities. Ramadan and Jubilee of mercy can be a source of “faith, patience and hope."

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – The Chaldean Patriarchate released a statement on the second anniversary of the fall of Mosul into the hands of the Islamic State (IS) group. Over the following months, IS seized half of Iraq and large swathes of Syria.

“This war is not an Islamic-Christian war,” the statement says, “but a struggle for power and money in the name of religion”. Unity, brotherhood, and sharing are the weapons needed to fight this struggle and maintain the country as one.   

In the message, which was forwarded to AsiaNews, the Iraqi Church expresses "sadness, pain and anxiety on the second anniversary of the tragedy that affected the people of Mosul." In the evening of 9 June 2014, northern Iraq’s largest city fell to the Jihadi movement, sparking an unprecedented exodus, especially among Christians.

Soon after, the Islamic extremist movement went to work on "eradicating the) culture, history and memories” of local communities, says the statement signed by Chaldean Patriarch Mar Raphael Louis Sako.

Two months later, on 6-7 August, the same fate befell the Nineveh Plain, with thousands of people fleeing their villages at night, from Qaraqosh to Karameles.

In both cases, refugees found shelter in Erbil and other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, where many still live in precarious conditions, waiting to return home.

To help the refugees after their flight, AsiaNews launched Adopt a Christian from Mosul, a campaign that continues to this day, designed to meet the long-term needs of the refugees, namely a safe and stable place to live. So far 1.2 million of the 3.5 million euros needed have been raised.

"Against these cruel and frightful events, we still believe that solution must come from the inside, from Iraqis themselves, who must be able to put aside their disputes,” the Patriarchate says.

Iraqis “need to change their thinking and approach to create a political will for reconciliation that is genuine, as well as a clear vision and plan for systematic reform that address the problems.”

For Mar Sako, “This war is not an Islamic-Christian war”. Religious and other differences aside, political ones included, what counts is the unity of intent to meet and win the challenge posed by Daesh, the Arabic acronym for IS.

“Thus, we call on everyone in this holy month for Muslims and the Year of Mercy for Christians not to allow sectarian sedition” to divide, but to nurture instead “faith, patience and hope”.

The hope is to see the city of Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh Plain liberated with “peace, security and equality for everyone”.

Finally, Mar Sako calls on the Christian community to "show solidarity with" refugees and "continue the glorious history and mission with courage, promoting cooperation and coexistence among fellow citizens."

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