Magazine article Anglican Journal

Persecuted Christians, Minorities Flee Lraq Faith Groups Ask UN to Act Faith Groups Ask UN to Act

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Persecuted Christians, Minorities Flee Lraq Faith Groups Ask UN to Act Faith Groups Ask UN to Act

Article excerpt

Faith leaders around the world have called on their governments, the United Nations and the League of Arab States to address the "horrific" suffering of Christians and other religious minorities who are being persecuted by a militant Jihadist group in the northern I and western parts of Iraq.

In August, Canon Andrew White, the vicar of Baghdad, secretly visited Qaraqosh, Iraq's Christian capital, and found it "go per cent empty" and desecrated. The self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham), had committed numerous atrocities, including die cutting in half of the five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad's Anglican church, said White in an emotional interview with the Anglican Communion News Service.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu have urged the British government to follow France, Germany and Australia in offering asylum to those fleeing brutal attacks by the self-proclaimed Islamic state. ISIS fighters have given Christians and other minorities an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a hefty security tax or be executed. According to the UN, between January and June of this year, 5,500 Iraqis were killed and 12,000 wounded. In late August, 650 more were executed in the city of Mosul. Those being targeted are Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, Turkomans, Kaka'is and Sabaeans. Some Shia Muslims, Iraq's majority group, have also been attacked.

"What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people's rights to freedom of religion and belief," said Welby in a statement. These human rights violations must be documented "so that future prosecutions can take place," he added.

York said Britain must take a lead at the UN Security Council and support calls to create a "safe zone" for the country's minorities, which would be enforced by UN peacekeepers.

The Vatican, meanwhile, released a letter urging UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy." Later, when asked by reporters if he supported the use of force against ISIS, the Pope said that in cases where there is an Caption: unjust aggression, "it is licit to stop the unjust aggression. I underline the verb: stop. …

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