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By Deacon Keith A Fournier

8/14/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The violent attacks that are sweeping across Northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity

The violent attacks that are sweeping across Northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes.- Pope Francis

That horrible black flag, a symbol of a reign of death and terror, is flying in many places now, as the army of ISIS militants advances, leaving a trail of carnage in their wake. These terrorists are routinely cutting off heads and sticking them on poles while they shout their slogans with enthusiasm and smile. They purport to honor God while they unleash a reign of evil. They engage in the worst human rights abuses, and claim they are doing it in the name of God. What kind of 'god' would ever compel human beings to act with such evil? Certainly NOT the true God.

That horrible black flag, a symbol of a reign of death and terror, is flying in many places now, as the army of ISIS militants advances, leaving a trail of carnage in their wake. These terrorists are routinely cutting off heads and sticking them on poles while they shout their slogans with enthusiasm and smile. They purport to honor God while they unleash a reign of evil. They engage in the worst human rights abuses, and claim they are doing it in the name of God. What kind of "god" would ever compel human beings to act with such evil? Certainly NOT the true God.

Highlights

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Finally, the attention of the whole world is turned toward that territory illegally carved out of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon which is now called The Islamic State, or Caliphate, by the militant extremist Jihadist Muslims who follow Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim.

Finally, the true brutality and utter evil being inflicted by this growing threat, not only too that region but to the world, is being exposed in much of the main stream media. These terrorists who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are evil, period.

They have beheaded hundreds of innocent people, killed children, crucified former Muslims who freely chose to follow Jesus Christ, destroyed dozens of Christian churches, burned sacred manuscripts and sacred art, and sent hundreds of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives in a reign of bloodshed and terror.

The deluded madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim, issued an ultimatum last month which led to this ongoing slaughter. Christians in that part of the former territory of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were to forcibly convert to Islam, face the sword, flee the country or have their property seized and pay the tax levied against dhimmis.

Not only Christians, but other religious minorities, are now subjected to the most vile and horrific violation of fundamental human rights that the world has seen in some time. For example, the plight of the Yahzidis, a sect which descends from an eclectic blend of Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian faith, blended with elements from other religious traditions, have drawn the attention of a watching world.

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

This despicable ultimatum was broadcast from loudspeakers and placed on the internet weeks ago. It has now been heard around the whole world: "We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword."  The ones who are issuing the ultimatum smile while they tell of their plans to fly their black flag over the White House.

The historic facts are clear and irrefutable. Christian tradition traces the planting of the Christian Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this ancient land now unjustly occupied by a new Caliphate all the way back to the missionary efforts of the Apostle Thomas.

Christians have an undeniable claim to live freely on this land - and the RIGHT to practice their faith. Their claim precedes the very arrival of Islam. They have fundamental human rights which are being ruthlessly denied by a barbaric terrorist movement whose poisonous ideology is spreading and threatening the entire world.

Christian homes were marked for seizure and destruction by these Jihadist terrorists. They took an axe to the ancient tomb of Jonah and destroyed it with a kind of mad abandon. They ripped down the Sacred Cross from St. Ephrem's Cathedral and replaced it with their dreaded black flag.

That horrible black flag, a symbol of a reign of death and terror, is flying in many places now, as the army of ISIS militants advances, leaving a trail of carnage in their wake.

These terrorists are routinely cutting off heads and sticking them on poles while they shout their slogans with enthusiasm and smile. They purport to honor God while they unleash a reign of evil. They engage in the worst human rights abuses, and claim they are doing it in the name of God.

What kind of "god" would ever compel human beings to act with such evil? Certainly NOT the true God.

Initially, there was only minimal news coverage of this utter horror - and a muted global outcry. Fortunately, that has now changed. Now, finally, even the main stream media admits, there is a genocide of Christians underway in this new Caliphate which has occupied territory which was once a part of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

These mad terrorists have amassed massive stockpiles of both weapons and cash. They threaten to blow up up a crucial dam - and the consequences will be dire. We face a serious global crisis. The question is - what will be the response of the rest of the world? 

As demonstrated by the treatment of the Yahzidis, the Christians are not alone in facing the evil wrath of these bloodthirsty terrorists. Their blood is now mingled with other religious minorities such as the Yahzidis, ShabaIts, and Kurds.

Over 40,000 Yahzidi men, women and children are now trapped in the mountains. They have no way to escape a sure and certain mass execution without intervention from the international community. How could anyone watch the footage of those men, women and children trying to board that helicopter bringing food - shown on every newscast - and not feel the utter urgency of this hour. 

Heroic Church leaders are speaking out with urgent clarity. We offer below the full text of a letter which was delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations on August 9, 2014, from Pope Francis. They are doing their part. We must do ours.

Sadly, some people, including some Christians, separate prayer and action. As a Christian, I believe such a separation is dangerous - and misunderstands both Christian prayer and Christian action. I urge our readers to do both.

******

His Excellency
Mr Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General
United Nations Organization
 
It is with a heavy and anguished heart that I have been following the dramatic events of these past few days in Northern Iraq where Christians and other religious minorities have been forced to flee from their homes and witness the destruction of their places of worship and religious patrimony.

Moved by their plight, I have asked His Eminence Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who served as the Representative of my predecessors, Pope St John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, to the people in Iraq, to manifest my spiritual closeness and to express my concern, and that of the entire Catholic Church, for the intolerable suffering of those who only wish to live in peace, harmony and freedom in the land of their forefathers.

In the same spirit, I write to you, Mr Secretary-General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq. In renewing my urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, I encourage all the competent organs of the United Nations, in particular those responsible for security, peace, humanitarian law and assistance to refugees, to continue their efforts in accordance with the Preamble and relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter.

The violent attacks that are sweeping across Northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity by protecting those affected or threatened by violence and assuring the necessary and urgent assistance for the many displaced people as well as their safe return to their cities and their homes.

The tragic experiences of the Twentieth Century, and the most basic understanding of human dignity, compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.

Confident that my appeal, which I unite with those of the Oriental Patriarchs and other religious leaders, will meet with a positive reply, I take this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.

From the Vatican, 9 August 2014
FRANCISCUS PP.

---


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