A senior Iraqi Christian has written an open letter condemning Western inaction in the country and calling on moderate Muslims to be more vocal in denouncing the Islamic State terror group.
The letter, which has been reproduced and translated on the Catholic blog Rorate Cæli, comes as ISIS renewed their attack on the city of Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town, with local clerics now reporting that the town has fallen.
In what is being seen as a call for Western intervention, Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, said: “We have to demand a large-scale administrative [governmental] operation on an international level.”
The Patriarch also said that speeches and grand gestures in Western countries are doing nothing to help the situation of Iraqis on the ground:
“In fact, speeches are good for nothing, so too declarations that rehash condemnations and indignation; the same can be said for protest marches. In addition, while appreciating the generosity of our donors, we would say that donations and fundraising too are not what will solve our problems.”
In the open letter, addressed to Pope Francis and Catholic leaders throughout the world, Patriarch Louis Raphael also condemned Muslim leaders for not doing more to tackle ISIS:
“We are equally shocked and indignant with the absence of a vigorous position taken by Muslims and their religious leaders, not the least because the actions of these factions represent a menace for Muslims themselves.”
He then issued an impassioned plea for help from the international community, as Iraqi and Kurdish forces have proved useless in protecting his flock:
“This is an appeal from the bottom of the heart in the search for a solution that lies uniquely in the hands of the international community and above all with the great powers. We address ourselves profoundly to their consciences and that they should review their positions and to re-evaluate the impact of the situation of today.
“These powers face a human and moral responsibility. It is no longer reasonable to take recourse to double standards. They are called to free themselves from their narrow interests and to unite themselves in a political and peacekeeping solution that puts an end to this conflict. These powers must vigorously exercise pressure on those who support financially and train militarily these factions and so cut short these sources of violence and radicalisation.”
He asked for humanitarian aid for Iraq’s Christians, but also said they need a stable political future:
“Concerning the Christians of Iraq, in our pastoral ministry towards them, we also call upon the international community: our Christians are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, as too they are in need of an efficient, true and permanent protection that reassures them that there is no end to their existence, whose origins are so deeply rooted in Iraq; this also concerns Christians in other regions of the Middle East that are burning and being torn apart.”