Saving Christians

Archbishop Louis Sako of Baghdad, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, spoke Dec. 14 in Rome about the status of Christians in the Middle East. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Extremist political Islam is growing in the Middle East,” prompting Christians to flee and causing death and upheaval among Christians and moderate Muslims alike, said the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church. At a conference in Rome on Dec. 14, Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad said moderate Muslims must be more courageous in defending a pluralistic Middle East, and the region’s Catholics should consider writing a document that explains to Muslims the Christian faith and the importance of religious freedom. More than 10 years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, “we don’t have security yet,” the patriarch said. “In 2013 alone, 6,200 persons were killed. There are daily attacks, explosions, kidnappings and murders.” In 1987, Iraq was home to more than 1.2 million Christians. “Today,” he said, “less than half remain. Even more troubling is that the numbers continue dropping.” Throughout the Middle East, he said, fighting among different Muslim groups has created openings for extremist Muslims, threatening even simple tolerance of Christians and making full religious freedom a distant dream for many.

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Mike Evans
4 years 11 months ago
Perhaps Pope Francis can open new avenues of mutual respect between Christianity and Islam. Extremists on all sides need to be disowned and contradicted by their own authorities. We can try to develop tolerance on both sides as well as eventual acceptance of a Jewish state in the middle east. This does not appear to be a religious battle but an excuse for political upheaval and repression of minorities. The gospel of peace and harmony with our neighbor is applicable to every faith tradition.

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