Archbishop, 7 bishops meet governor on persecution of Christians in Iraq-Syria

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore
Bangalore, Sep 18: Archbishop of Bangalore Dr Bernard Moras and seven other Bishops of different Dioceses of the State met Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala at Raj Bhavan on Thursday with a request to urge the Centre to exert pressure for ending the persecutionof

thousands of Christians and other minorities in Iraq, Syria and other African countries by the Islamic extremists.

The Archbishop, who is also the President of the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council (KRCBC) andAll Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights (AKUCFHR), was accompanied by the Bishop of Mangalore Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Belgaum Peter Machado, Bishop of Bhadravathi Mar Joseph Arumachadath, Bishop of Chikamangalur Thomasappa Anthony Swamy, Bishop of Karwar .DerekFernandes, Bishop of Mysore Thomas Antony Vazhapilly, Msgr JJayanathan and Msgr C Francis, both Vicar Generals, Fr Ronnie Prabhu, PRO of KRCBC and AKUCFHR), Abraham T J, Anti Corruption Activist and President ICU-FKCCA and Aida D’cuna, Social Activist.

The delegation led by the Archbishop of Bangalore submitted a memorandum to the State Governor to be forwarded to the PresicdentPranab Kumar Mukkherjee, which expressed concern and anguish at the plight of the Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria and said as per unofficial estimates about One lakh and Seventy Thousand people have already been killed.

“We strongly feel that the problem in Iraq is caused by a misunderstanding of Islam, those who propagate the holocaust are actually unaware of the true Islam and Quran’s teachings,” the memorandum said.

It was unfortunate that the Christians and also the other communities in India have maintained a silence regarding the persecution of innocent children, men and women in Iraq, which is by itself violence in silence. When we see violence and remain as silent spectators, our silence is also an equally condemnable violence and injustice against humanity, if we do not raise our voice against such barbaric acts. Hence, we have urged one and all to raise their voices, or be ready to accept the blame that they are also a part of the violence by their silence,” the memorandum said.

The Archbishop and the delegation of Bishops informed the Governor of the fast and prayers observed by the Christians belonging to various denominations in Bangalore and other places of Karnataka on Friday, September 12, and also a mass rally and prayers at the St Joseph’s Indian High School Grounds on Sunday, September 14, which was observed as a “Black Sunday” to express solidarity with the suffering people.

The delegation explained that leaders of different Christian denominations like Catholics, Church of South India (CSI), Methodists, Baptists, Pentecost, Syrian Orthodox, Assemblies of God and Representatives of the Federation of all Christian churches and Organizations in Karnataka as well as Sri ShanthaveeraKolada Math Swamiji; BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok; Congress MLA N A Harris; a prominent Muslim Leader Aga Sultan and others took part in this Rally and addressed the large gathering of priests, nuns, Christians and people of other religious communities, when special prayers were also offered for the victims and displaced persons in the flood havoc in Jammu and Kashmir.

As a sequel of the above denouncement and public condemnation of what is happening against the Christians in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the world, we, the delegation Bishops of different denominations and leaders of all Christian churches and organizations in Karnataka led by Dr Bernard Moras submitted the memorandum urging the Governor to draw the attention of the Central Government to the plight of Christians in Iraq and to demand a strong denouncement by India of the holocaust of Christians in Iraq.

The delegation also appealed to all right thinking Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis to condemn the execution of Christians in Iraq in the name of religion.