Iraqi Archbishop: European Union ‘Lagged Behind’ in Aiding Persecuted Christians

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The archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, said Wednesday while many Europeans have come to the aid of persecuted Christians in the Middle East, the European Union has been slow to mobilize.

In an interview with the European Post, Archbishop Najeeb Moussa Michaeel said that the European Union (E.U.) “was aware of the persecutions that have affected Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, but also in Lebanon” and yet largely turned a blind eye to this suffering.

We must be able to call out the suffering we see “even when it destabilizes our analytical grids, our geopolitical convictions, our political correctness,” Archbishop Michaeel asserted.

The E.U. has “undoubtedly lagged behind the European peoples who have courageously mobilized to express their solidarity with the Christians of the East in general and the Christians of Iraq in particular,” the archbishop stated. “In the field, in the refugee camps, in our dioceses, in the middle of Nineveh and in Iraqi Kurdistan, we have seen dozens of volunteers who have come from Europe to express their friendship and closeness to the displaced persons and refugees.”

“We experienced a real solidarity that was exemplary,” he added.

Currently, the international community “is not sufficiently aware of the danger of an East emptied of its Christians,” the archbishop said in reference to the dwindling Christian population of the region. “A good part of our vocation is to be the salt of the earth in the midst of devastation and tension. What will happen if we leave?”

Nonetheless, there are modest signs of hope as some Christians begin cautiously returning to the area, he said, in part because they did not find what they were looking for in the West.

“Some are already returning because they realize that the West is not the lost Paradise, nor the delights of the ‘Hanging Gardens of Babel’ that they were promised,” he said. “They also return because they are spiritually and culturally oriental and that in their path of identity, a return to the land of their fathers is often a stage of construction or reconstruction.”

“We must not be Christians inhabited by fear, but men full of their mission: witnessing to Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said. “This is paradoxical for the modern world, but it is the lesson of the first Christians.”

“In the midst of peril, the more we witness, and the more we pray, the safer we are,” he added. “Because in the end, our security is not of the world, it is for the world, and it comes mainly from above.”

I hope that Europe is aware of the danger of the emergence of harmful Islamist ideologies, he said, “and that it will react more strongly if this ideology emerges again.”


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