Patriarch Calls for End to Bloodshed In Iraq

DAMASCUS, Syria, MARCH 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East is urging Arab leaders, the United Nations and the international community to help put an end to the bloodshed in Iraq.

Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, who is also the Supreme Head of the universal Syro-Orthodox Church, posted a statement today on the Web site of the Patriarchate, urging “the governments of the world to uproot the terrorism and abuses that are blooding Christians of Iraq.”

“With great pain and grief,” the patriarch said, “we follow all that is happening in Iraq and especially to Christians of Iraq, victims of persecutions, killings, looting, kidnapping and sacrilegious acts: It seems the devil has enlisted these men to spread chaos in the country and among the people.”

“We do not know why those who were always faithful to their homeland and attached to the heritage of their beloved Iraq are now being targeted. We have already published other criticisms against this inhuman behavior which is very far from religion,” continues the letter.

“Unfortunately, these criminals carry out their acts in the name of religion but Islam is completely foreign to them,” he added.

Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas asked what could be the reasons for such violence: “Is there perhaps a plot to empty Iraq of Christians who are natives of that country? Or are there projects sponsored by unknown hands that some call one day Zionism and another a feud, or perhaps a group of outlaws that has as its religion the abuse and damage of others?”

“There is nothing that convinces us on why the state is not able to arrest and dole out just punishment to these rebels and outlaws, who are far from the principles of religion, of power, of the state, of the law and of humanity,” continues the letter. “This makes us doubt the intentions of the authorities to whom we request, individually and collectively, to obtain justice for the oppressed.

“We cannot look at our innocent children while people are being slaughtered, killed, looted without any one putting an end to it.”

[Tony Assaf contributed to this article]
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