Rome, Italy, Feb 26, 2010 / 01:03 pm (CNA).- Various Iraqi bishops have issued a joint message denouncing the continual wave of Islamic violence against Christians in the country, which has left five people dead in the past week. The bishops are demanding that the government take concrete steps to stop the slaughter.
In an interview with the Fides News Agency, Syrian Catholic Archbishop Georges Casmouusa of Mosul called for authorities to â€œfully assume responsibility for protecting the Christian presence in Mosul. International intervention is necessary to force the central and local governments to act immediately.â€
The fifth and most recent victim, a 57-year-old Christian orthodox man, was found dead two days ago.
This surge in violence moved the bishops to call for greater intervention by the local government. Archbishop Casmouusa provided Fides with a copy of the message which he signed together with Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Gregorios Saliba, and Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Emile Nona. The message denounced the violence against â€œour Christian sons and daughters in the city of Mosul,â€ with the killing of innocent and peaceful people, thus revealing â€œa premeditated plan to pressure the Christian Churches to carry out a particular agenda.â€
All efforts by Christian and Muslim leaders have not been able to stop the violence against Christâ€™s faithful, they said, adding, â€œThese continuous acts lead us to believe that we are not wanted in this city, which is our homeland.â€
â€œChristians have participated directly and with great effectiveness in building civilization in Mosulâ€ and throughout the region, the bishops said, particularly through art, culture, thought and creativity, as well as the economy and society. Christians are recognized by all as â€œpeaceful members and builders of society.”
â€œIs this how we are rewarded? By being expelled from our city, marginalized from public life, thrown out of our land? Will the state remain indifferent?â€ they asked.
The bishops called on the government of Mosul and the federal government in Baghdad to â€œfully assume their responsibility to work for the security of citizens, especially for the faithful of the Christian minority, who are the most vulnerable and most peaceful of all.â€
â€œWe demand government officials give priority to respect for the law and the state, and safeguard the security and the trust of the citizens,â€ they said. â€œWe ask leaders not to waste their efforts fighting for power and hegemony amongst themselves,â€ but rather to â€œpursue criminal actions so that those who order and carry out violence may be brought to justice.â€