Chaldean Patriarch: fast this Lent for Iraq

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Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq – ANSA
(Vatican Radio) “A genocide against humanity.” These are the words Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations used to explain the ongoing violence and terror in Iraq to the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim said the terrorist groups have “desecrated all human values” and urged the UN Security Council to look into allegations that ISIL is killing civilians and harvesting organs to help finance their terror operations in the Middle East


Listen to the report by Laura Ieraci:

The ambassador told journalists that bodies with surgical incisions and missing organs have been found in shallow mass graves in recent weeks.

The outgoing U.N. envoy to Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, said the allegations indicate clearly that ISIL’s tactics are expanding by the day. He also said 790 people were killed in Iraq in January alone in the conflict.

In the midst of this ongoing crisis, the leader of the Chaldean Church in Iraq issued a message for Lent, calling on Iraqi Christians to live this time of Lent as a time of prayer and reflection, but also as a time to restore harmony.

He urged Iraqi Christian to fast as much as possible and invited “fellow Muslim brothers and sisters” to fast along with them for a few days in view of: achieving peace and stability as soon as possible in the region; promoting brotherhood, cooperation and reconciliation while refraining from fanaticism and conflicts; upholding moral values; of loving their  country and renewing their commitment to unity over sectarianism.

During this Lent, he also called on Iraqi Christians to grow in love for their Church and to participate in its renewal.

“We should consolidate the Christian presence in Iraq and in the Middle East,” he said. “We, Christians are testimonies of hope, carrying a history, a civilization and a message.”

He concluded saying Iraqi Christians “went through tougher situations than now,” recalling the massacres of Safarberlik a century ago.

“So we have to hold on and not to give up,” he said,  “and to renew our trust in the future.”