BAGHDAD, Iraq, FEB. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In a letter sent to the Iraqi prime minister, the patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church accused the authorities of complicity with the perpetrators of the massacre of Mosul Christians.
His Beatitude Ignace Joseph III Younan, 65, sent the letter on Wednesday to Nouri al-Maliki, decrying the murder of Christians in Mosul, northern Iraq.
Eight Christians have been killed in 10 days, while others are leaving the area where their families have lived for 2,000 years in order to flee for safety.
The patriarch affirmed: “While we write you, our hearts bleed over the tragic news we receive every day from Mosul, where Christians constantly suffer the attacks of ‘unknown’ criminals.
“They are murdered, massacred, threatened on the streets, in schools and even in their homes for the fact of belonging to a religion that is different from that of the majority of inhabitants of the city.”
The last murder occurred Tuesday, when an armed commando entered the home of a Christian family, killing the father and two sons in front of his wife and daughter, whose lives were spared by the criminals. Some 15,000 Christians remain in the Muslim-majority city of Mosul.
Patriarch Younan continued, “But what is worse is that there is no one who asks questions about the issue of justice, or about the issue of law, and there is no one who punishes the aggressors. Believe us: when it’s too much, it’s too much!”
Sheep to the slaughter
He wrote: “There is no human conscience than can accept this lack of security in Mosul, where it has become licit to kill the innocent and defenseless.
“We are astonished at the reasons given by government employees and from their failure we can deduce that there is complicity in the process of emptying the city of Christians, who have lived there for centuries.
“We raise our voices and ask: If the security forces in Iraq have not been able to protect the innocent and vulnerable, why in the name of God aren’t weapons given to the innocent so that they can defend themselves instead of letting them be taken to the slaughter like sheep?”
The patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians asserted that “what is happening in Mosul cannot be justified by anyone, not for any reason, not because of the election, or because of work, or because of the conflicts between parties.”
“It’s known that Iraqi Christians have never sought power,” he added, “they haven’t attacked anyone and have not revenged themselves on the guilty.”
“Has the moment not arrived for their government, according to the state of law, to take energetic measures and punish the criminals and their accomplices of Mosul?” Patriarch Younan asked.
He continued: “We realize and say to you with all clarity that the sorrow that oppresses the heart of Christians in Iraq will turn into anger outside of Iraq, where protests will take place in front of all the Iraqi embassies to condemn the lack of security of innocent Christians in Mosul.”
The patriarch concluded, “Trusting in your wisdom and impartiality, we thank you.”
The Syriac Catholic Church has its see in Beirut, Lebanon, though the majority of its members live in Iraq (42,000).
The Syriac Catholic Church separated from Rome after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but returned to full communion more than a millennium later.
[With the contribution of Tony Assaf]