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  • » 08/13/2014, 00.00


    Patriarch of Baghdad: USA, EU and the Arab League must clear Nineveh plain of Jihadists

    Louis Raphael I Sako *

    Mar Sako calls for a joint intervention to crush the Jihadist threat and "help the displaced" Christians, Yazidis and Shiites to return to their villages of origin. International efforts undertaken so far are "insufficient" and a central government "still being formed" cannot be relied upon. Sadness at the continuous migration of the faithful, Christian "heritage" of Iraq at risk.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The United States, European Union and Arab League have a duty to "clear the Nineveh plain of all jihadists militia" and help Christians (but also Yazidi and Shiites) "to return to their villages of origin and rebuild their lives". This is what the Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Louis Sako, writes in an appeal - sent to AsiaNews - in which he asks to "save the Nineveh plain from jihadists and ensure international protection". The very firm note was written "with the unanimous consent" of the bishops of Mosul, the various churches and Christian denominations.

    The Patriarchate in Iraq is moving "from Baghdad to Erbil," in Iraqi Kurdistan, to closely follow "the situation of displaced families" for whom "all the bishops are doing their best". Mar Sako warns of a "the quickly developing tragedy" and few signs of a rapid solution. He hopes in the decisive intervention of the international community, pending the formation of a new government in Baghdad that knows how to act in coordination with the Kurdish authorities to thwart the extremist threat.

    Below, the letter-appeal of the Chaldean Patriarch sent to AsiaNews:

    The quickly developing tragedy of the displaced families in Northern Iraq, urges everyone to act as there are no signs of a quick solution to the fate of the more than 1000,000 people who have fled from more than 13 villages on the Nineveh Plain to towns and villages further North and who have been trying to survive in parks and public places for the past seven days.

    From a spiritual and humanitarian point of view the present circumstances of these exiled people are not acceptable, while the suffering increases and the international efforts to alleviate their pain are insufficient.

    Currently it is not possible to rely on the Central Government that is being formed as the process is going through troubled times. Moreover, it will require a good amount of time for a new government to bring back order and peace in the country.

    So before further harsh and heartbreaking realities afflict these families, the United States of America, also due to their prior involvement in Iraq, the European Union and Arab League of Nations have the responsibility to act rapidly for a solution.

    They must clear the Nineveh Plain from all elements of Jihadist Warriors, and help these displaced families return to their ancestral villages and reconstitute their lives so that they can conserve and practise their religion, culture and traditions through an active and effective International Campaign until the Central Government and Regional Government of Kurdistan become effective.

    It saddens me to think of them choosing migration as a viable option. If the situation does not change the whole world will be called to take responsibility for the slow genocide of a genuine component of Iraqi society and of loosing its heritage and age old culture.  ISIS tries to erase all traces.

    This letter was sent with the full agreement of the bishops of Mosul, of all the churches.


    * Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, and President of the Bishops' Conference of the Iraqi




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    See also

    07/08/2015 IRAQ
    For Mar Sako, one year after the Mosul tragedy, only unity and reconciliation can save Iraq
    On the first anniversary of the great exodus from the Nineveh Plain, the Chaldean Patriarch addresses a letter to Iraq’s government and parliament. In it, he denounces the difficult conditions in which Christians and Yezidis still live, as well as the thousands of deaths among Muslims. Peace is the only response to the violence of extremist groups who "exploit religion".

    16/08/2007 IRAQ
    Ethnic cleansing first against Yazidis, soon against Christians
    The death toll from anti-Yazidi attacks in northern Iraq is rising and might reach 500. Sources warn AsiaNews that Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain are at risk. The area is currently controlled by Wahhabi extremists since there is no presence of US or Iraqi troops. In a climate of growing insecurity 40 children in Kirkuk receive their first communion on the day of the Assumption of Our Lady.

    20/04/2009 IRAQ
    Nineveh Plain: a ghetto for Iraqi Christians is an illusion
    The Archbishop of Kirkuk comes out against a plan promoted by Iraqi political and religious leaders leaving abroad to set up a Christian enclave in the Nineveh Plain. The idea is meant to “save Christians” from attacks and violence, but it runs against Iraqi history and Christians’ mission and could accentuate the ongoing ethnic and religious confrontation in the country.

    26/06/2007 IRAQ
    In Iraq Christians want to rebuild the nation together with their “Muslim brothers”
    P. Saad Hanna Sirop, one of the first Chaldean priests to have been abducted in Baghdad and ex director of the Babel College, reiterates that the persecution underway in Iraq is not exclusive to Christians, but also targets Shiites and Sunnis. The priest’s observations come in the wake of the Chaldean Churches unanimous rejection of the Nineveh Plains project. There is a need to avoid sectarian and divisive declarations, and to promote “universal action for the common good of the country, which is the patrimony of all humanity”.

    24/07/2014 IRAQ - UN
    Baghdad Patriarch to Ban Ki-moon: UN cannot stand by in silence as Christians are being massacred
    Mar Sako writes to the Secretary-General of the United Nations: "The situation worsens, the international community must intervene to stop the violence against religious and ethnic minorities. We need everything, from water to medicines." An appeal to save the religious heritage: "It will be difficult to rebuild ancient monasteries and churches burned by extremists."

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