Dar al-Fatwa team visits Chaldean, Assyrian churches

The Daily Star
BEIRUT: A delegation from Lebanon’s Dar al-Fatwa Wednesday visited Chaldean and Assyrian church authorities to express solidarity with Christians facing a bloody onslaught at the hands of jihadists in north Iraq, and offered assistance for refugees who fled the violence.

The National News Agency said the team, led by the president of Dar al-Fatwa’s association for humanitarian assistance, Riad Itani, visited the head of the Chaldean Church in Lebanon, Archbishop Michel Katerji, and Assyrian Bishop Yatroun Collina.

The delegation strongly condemned the developments in Iraq, especially the onslaught against “our Christian brothers” in Mosul, and placed Dar al-Fatwa’s capabilities at the disposal of the clergy to help assist refugees from Mosul, the agency said.

The representatives of the highest Sunni religious authority also praised the long history of Christian-Muslim coexistence in the Levant that goes back to the dawn of Islam, stressing that they would surmount current difficulties and protect their unity and common future in the Arab region.

The two sides praised “the religious and cultural diversity inherent in the region” which they described as a “humanitarian and cultural fortune that should be protected,” the NNA added.

Jihadi militants from Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) have overrun large swaths of land in north Iraq, causing a massive flight of Christians, who fled as an alternative to converting to Islam.

Earlier Wednesday, a delegation headed by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai visited Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq, in a show of support with the thousands of Christians who fled the advance of the Islamist militants.

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