Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue deplores in no
uncertain terms the acts of violence by the militants of the Islamic caliphate
in the Middle East, especially in Iraq
body calls on the members of all
religions and on the international community to join in the condemnation. It also calls on Islamic religious leaders to
condemn the use of religion as a
false justification for terrorism and
to make the culture of coexistence and dialogue that has developed in the past
few years more real and credible.
translation of the statement
issued by the Pontifical Council is presented below.
world has witnessed with incredulity what is now called the "Restoration
of the Caliphate," which had been abolished on October 29, 1923 by Kamal
Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.
Opposition to this "restoration" by the majority of religious
institutions and Muslim politicians has not prevented the "Islamic
State" jihadists from committing and continuing to commit unspeakable
Pontifical Council, together with all those engaged in interreligious dialogue,
followers of all religions, and all men and women of good will, can only
unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices which bring shame on
massacre of people on the sole basis of their religious affiliation;
despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public
imposed on Christians and Yezidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax
(jizya) or forced exile;
expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, elderly, pregnant
women and the sick;
abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidis and Christian communities
as spoils of war (sabaya);
imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;
destruction of places of worship and Christian and Muslim burial places;
-the forced occupation
or desecration of churches and monasteries;
of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other
destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;
violence aimed at terrorizing people to force them to surrender or flee.
and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an
extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope
Francis has often reminded us. We cannot forget, however, that Christians and
Muslims have lived together - it is true with ups and downs - over the
centuries, building a culture of peaceful coexistence and civilization of which
they are proud. Moreover, it is on this basis that, in recent years, dialogue
between Christians and Muslims has continued and intensified.
plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic
minorities in Iraq requires a clear and courageous stance on the part of
religious leaders, especially Muslims, as well as those engaged in
interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. All must be unanimous in
condemning unequivocally these crimes and in denouncing the use of religion to
justify them. If not, what credibility will religions, their followers and
their leaders have? What credibility can the interreligious dialogue that we
have patiently pursued over recent years have?
leaders are also called to exercise their influence with the authorities to end
these crimes, to punish those who commit them and to re-establish the rule of
law throughout the land, ensuring the return home of those who have been
displaced. While recalling the need for an ethical management of human
societies, these same religious leaders must not fail to stress that the
support, funding and arming of terrorism is morally reprehensible.
the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is grateful to all those who
have already raised their voices to denounce terrorism, especially that which
uses religion to justify it.
therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis: "May the God of
peace stir up in each one of us a genuine desire for dialogue and
reconciliation. Violence is never defeated by violence. Violence is defeated by