By Tony Assaf
ROME, NOV. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Oct. 31 attack on an Iraqi Christian church is being called an “act of unprecedented ferocity.”
This was the description made by Auxiliary Bishop Mikhael Al Jamil of the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Syrians in Lebanon, at a Mass celebrated in Rome this Wednesday for the 58 who died in the massacre and the more than 100 people who were wounded.
“The grave attack of last Oct. 31 on the Syrian Catholic Church of Baghdad was an act of unprecedented ferocity against defenseless persons, gathered in prayer,” he said.
Tuesday and Wednesday, there were more attacks against Christians in Iraq.
Bishop Al Jamil described the situation in the country as “increasingly difficult, so much so that many feel constrained to flee.”
He reflected that “they [the victims] do not belong to any faction in combat, they do not take part in the internal conflicts of the county and do not have arms, not even to defend their lives.”
Bishop Al Jamil invited Islam “to recover the role it had when Christians and Muslims created the Arab civilization together, and not to allow terrorism and other political components, whether Eastern or Western, to empty the East of Christianity.”
He urged renewing “this beautiful image of secular dialogue and of Muslim-Christian coexistence.”
The bishop decried a policy that seeks to make of the Middle East a simple ensemble “of religions, of various sects and of other components forged by political designs, which have as the sole result the destruction of a true and beautiful Middle East, to create a monster that will always have need to recover and be cured in the hospital of international politics […] a policy that is without history, without tradition, without religious ethics, without a Redeemer, without God.”
“The Western democracies do not succeed in understanding the Eastern mentality and above all the political thought of some fanatical currents of Islam that consider their Christian fellow citizens an extensions of the colonial West and actually a continuity of the Crusades,” and, unfortunately, “the better Islam has been unable up to now to deplore sufficiently or put an end to these currents,” he explained.
“We hope that Muslims will be able to be more decisive in protecting their civil and religious ethics, committing themselves to support the trust and tranquility of their Christian brothers,” he added.
Finally, Bishop Al Jamil requested the West to find the courage to “raise its voice against all fanaticism, all injustice and all violence, in defense of the coexistence between various components of our Middle Eastern countries and of religious minorities.