Chaldean Archbishop to Iraqi Catholics: Stay Put & Be Strong

  • Written by:

by Stefan Farrar • ChurchMilitant.com •
“For me, staying and resisting as a Christian minority is the right way”
PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – A Chaldean archbishop is asking Iraqi Catholics to stay in Iraq to help rebuild the ISIS-ravaged country. While visiting Paris, Abp. Yousif Mirkis remarked, “For me, staying and resisting as a Christian minority is the right way.”

He also criticized the integration process for Iraqi refugees in Europe, saying, “The effort and money spent to integrate these immigrants — if we spent it at home, it would have been a thousand times better.” He criticized the integration process, saying that families are often separated among different countries and disillusioned by their new lives in Europe.

Although he has expressed hope for Iraq’s future, he has also expressed concern. Regarding the people who have been born, grown up and lived under ISIS rule, he says, “What do we do with the millions who have been educated under it?”

Although he has expressed hope for Iraq’s future, he has also expressed concern. Regarding the people who have been born, grown up and lived under ISIS rule, he says, “What do we do with the millions who have been educated under it?”

Archbishop Mirkis remains optimistic about the future of Christianity in Iraq, despite the persecution of ISIS over the past few years. In May 2016, Mirkis commented:

When our faith reaches the edge, even to the point of death, there is always an intervention of God, something amazing happens. This is the faith of the Old Testament witnessed in Exodus and (the) parting of the Red Sea, and in the New Testament with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, I don’t believe those who say that there won’t be Christians in Iraq.

In 2003, the Christian population in Iraq was 1.4 million but decreased to 275,000 in 2016. In February 2015, Bashar Warda, the Abp. of Erbil, Iraq, testified to the House of Lords, London, on the plight of Christians in Iraq. He said, “For many long centuries, we, the Christians of Iraq, have experienced many long hardships and persecutions, but what we have now experienced are the worst acts of genocide in our homeland. We are facing the extinction of Christianity as a religion in Iraq.”

In August 2014, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako remarked, “If the situation does not change, the whole world should take responsibility [for] a slow genocide of an entire component of Iraqi society and its age-old culture. ISIS tries to erase all traces.” The situation has also been dire for Christians in Syria, as a result of the spread of ISIS and the civil war currently raging in that country.

Ibrahim Nseir, an evangelical pastor in Syria, commented in 2016, “We are facing terrorist action in the whole geography of Syria. They are destroying our churches, killing and kidnapping Christians, stealing our homes and our businesses.”

In response to such violence and bloodshed, Mirkis is calling for peace, forgiveness and unity among those of different faiths. In a personal anecdote, he mentioned the compassionate response from a widow of a reporter who was murdered in Iraq. “Instead of seeking revenge, she built a hospital and offered it to those who killed her husband. There’s a lesson that should be repeated,” he said.

In March last year, Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that ISIS has been committing genocide against the Christian community in Iraq. In an official statement, he said:

We know that in areas under its control, [ISIS] has made a systematic effort to destroy the cultural heritage of ancient communities — destroying Armenian, Syrian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, as well as blowing up monasteries and the tombs of prophets and desecrating cemeteries. We know that [ISIS] has threatened Christians by saying that it will “conquer your Rome, break your crosses and enslave your women.”

 

Extremists committing “horrific acts every day” against Christians

  • Written by:

By Murcadha O Flaherty
A CHURCH source in Egypt has told a Catholic charity that extremist Islamists are carrying out daily atrocities against Christians – including kidnapping and murder.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, told international charity Aid to the Church in Need: “There are many extremists Muslims who commit Continue reading

Iraqi forces storm ISIS-held Tel Kaif in northern Mosul

  • Written by:

ByPaul Antonopoulos –
Iraqi forces stormed on Thursday the town of Tel Kaif in northern Mosul as only a few regions remain to be liberated from ISIS on the the eastern side of the Tigris river.
An Iraqi military statement has said that it’s forces have entered the town from several axes. Continue reading

Working with Iraqi refugees stretches, strengthens priest’s faith

  • Written by:

Father Khalil Jaar distributes hygiene packs to Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering at his church compound Jan. 8 in Marka, Jordan. Many Iraqi Christian refugees who fled Mosul say they will not be able to return, even after the so-called Islamic State militants are flushed out of the area by the U.S.-led and Iraqi government forces. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak) Continue reading

Chaldean archbishop urges Iraqi Catholics to stay and help rebuild

  • Written by:

By Elizabeth Bryant
Chaldean Archbishop Yousif Mirkis of Kirkuk, Iraq, second from right, celebrates Mass on April 19, 2015, in Madrid. Photo courtesy of HazteOir.org via Creative Commons
PARIS (RNS ) Iraqi Christians who are considering leaving the country should stay put and play a role in rebuilding their war-shattered homeland, a senior prelate said in Paris. Continue reading

Iraqi Muslim Builds Cross After Original is Destroyed by ISIS

  • Written by:

Marwan’s action represents the support and concern that the greater Muslim community has for the persecuted Christians in Iraq. An Iraqi Muslim built a cross out of two pieces of metal, sending a message that Iraqi Muslims don’t stand for extremist Islamic ideology and that they support the Christians of the nation. The man, Marwan, Continue reading

A Light In Times Of Darkness

  • Written by:

Nuri Kino Independent investigative multi-award-winning reporter, filmmaker, author, Middle East and human rights analyst
A week before Christmas, I, along with other dedicated volunteers from ADFA (A Demand For Action) NGO, a group of which I am a founder, went to Lebanon again to help our sister organization, Syriac League, with its Christmas events. We brought with Continue reading

Goal to bring 52 disabled Iraqi children to NZ

  • Written by:

By Rowena Orejana –
Safety is a commodity that is scarce in Iraq.
Project 52, a project launched by the Chaldean Catholic community, aims to provide safety to 52 disabled children in Iraq by eventually having them adopted by families in New Zealand.
The project was launched with a gala on November 26 at St Addai church in Continue reading

Kirkuk Archbishop: Aid for Iraq Best Targeted at Home

  • Written by:

Lisa Bryant
Chaldean Archbishop Yousif Mirkis of Kirkuk, Iraq, speaks to reporters in Paris, Jan. 17, 2017. (L. Bryant/VOA)
A high-profile Iraqi cleric says the best way to help his countrymen is at home, rather than pouring money into refugee programs overseas.
Kirkuk’s Archbishop Yousif Mirkis, who is visiting France, called Tuesday for an initiative Continue reading

In visit to Kurdistan, U.S. bishop hears priorities of Iraqi Christians

  • Written by:

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., pose for a photo in Iraq. After meeting with church leaders in northern Iraq, Bishop Cantu said he will advocate differently for Iraqi religious minorities. (CNS photo/Stephen Colecchi, USCCB)
By Dale Gavlak • Catholic News Service • Posted January 17, 2017 Continue reading

Iraq: Qaraqosh residents assess the damage after occupation – IS used the church as a shooting range

  • Written by:

Posted by ACN News By Jaco Klamer
“I don’t understand how people can harm each other so much,” sighs security guard Louis Petrus. Today, Louis has returned to his hometown for the first time: the Christian city of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, which he had to flee on 6 August 2014, when IS occupied the city. “Look at my house: it is damaged, most of my furniture has been stolen and my Continue reading

Group leads ‘Dunkirk in reverse’ for Christians of Iraq, Syria

  • Written by:

John L. Allen Jr.
A drawing by an Iraqi Christian child living in a camp for internally displaced persons. (Credit: Image courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need.)
Right now, it’s impossible to say whether Christianity will survive in Iraq or Syria. Yet one thing can be said with certainty: If it does, it will be because of groups such as Aid Continue reading

2,400-year-old Skeletons Discovered in Northern Iraqi Tomb

  • Written by:

Archeologists working in northern Iraq have uncovered a tomb dating back 2,400 years containing the skeletons of six people at a minimum. In addition to the skeletons, artifacts found inside the tomb include a bracelet which had been decorated with images of two snake heads, each looking directly at the other. Continue reading

Ted Cruz Introduces Bill To Designate Muslim Brotherhood As Terrorist Organization

Christine Rousselle
|Posted: Jan 11, 2017 9:30 AM
Ted Cruz Introduces Bill To Designate Muslim Brotherhood As Terrorist Organization

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) have introduced a bill to ask the Secretary of State to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as an international terrorist organization.

The bill, dubbed the “Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act,” states that the group has met the criteria of a terrorist group, and thus should be designated as such.

Continue reading