Europe’s Catholic bishops appeal for international action on Iraq

Call for ‘an end to the atrocious actions’ against religious minorities

An Iraqi Christian boy leans his head against a chair in a tent he shares with his family, after being forced along with many other Christians to flee their homes. Europe’s Catholic bishops have appealed to the UN security council to call on the international community to take action to protect Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq. Photograph: Ahmed Jalil/EPA

An Iraqi Christian boy leans his head against a chair in a tent he shares with his family, after being forced along with many other Christians to flee their homes. Europe’s Catholic bishops have appealed to the UN security council to call on the international community to take action to protect Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq. Photograph: Ahmed Jalil/EPA

 

Europe’s Catholic bishops have appealed to the UN security council to call on the international community to take action to protect Christian and other religious minorities in Iraq. In an open letter published today the presidents of the 33 Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Europe call on the international community to take urgent “decisions to put an end to the atrocious actions against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq”.

A copy of their letter will be handed to European Governments and EU authorities. They also expressed the hope that other institutional, cultural and religious bodies might join in their initiative condemning what is happening in Iraq as a violation of the right to life, security and religious freedom.

They say it is urgent to undertake concrete humanitarian steps to respond to the desperate situation of Iraqi Christians and state that “in this case, too, the international community may be able to respond with rapid assistance to the many refugees and guarantee their security in returning to their cities and homes.”

Meanwhile the Iona Institute has announced that a Mass of solidarity with persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq will take place at 5.30pm this coming Monday (August 18th) in St Teresa’s church on Dublin’s Clarendon Street.

It points out that “Christians and other religious minorities are being subjected to varying degrees of persecution in almost half of Africa and most of Asia. The Mass on Monday will be an opportunity to show of solidarity with the Yazidis and with our suffering fellow Christian believers in Iraq.”

Ireland’s Baha’i community has protested against what is claimed to be further persecution of their co-religionists in Iran. Spokesman Brendan McNamara noted that when Iran’s ambassador Javad Kachoueian appeared before the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee on July 9th last he gave assurances that no Baha’i’s rights had been violated and no Baha’i is were in Iran’s prisons unless the law had been broken.

Mr McNamara thought this “puzzling to say the least” when set against reports that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard had resumed the demolition of a Baha’i cemetery in the city of Shiraz. “What offence, one wonders, have deceased Baha’is in Shiraz committed to deserve such treatment?” he asked.

“It stretches credulity to expect the world to accept that Baha’is are only imprisoned and mistreated in Iran because of their ‘crimes’ when they are not even safe in their graves,” he said.