An Italian bishop has called on Muslims in traditionally Christian countries in Europe to publicly denounce Islamist persecution or they should be “courageous” enough to own up to their beliefs “and leave our country,” because “nobody wants enemies in their own home.”
In a forceful editorial in his local diocesan newspaper this past weekend, Bishop Tommaso Ghirelli of Imola called on citizens to stop blaming foreigners en masse. “Rather we are asking the Muslims who live among us to show that they are honourable men, and publicly condemn these persecutions and acts of cruelty,” he said. “Otherwise they ought to have the courage to leave our country, because nobody wants to have enemies in their own home.”
He added: “We know that they are intimidated by fundamentalists, but the time has come to break the vicious cycle of abuse.”
He also called on politicians to fulfil their duty to protect and defend the lives and the freedom of the people, otherwise they “will pay dearly for every silence and every act of cowardice.”
Bishop Ghirelli’s words have already shaken consciences. The president of the House of Islamic Culture in Imola, Mohamed Sabir, wishes to address the bishop’s concerns during commemorations on September 11, the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Here below is the full text of Bishop Ghirelli’s editorial:
THE CALIPHATE AND REFUGEES
September 7, 2014
Let’s take a look at what’s behind the influx of refugees and immigrants arriving by sea, and the vast number of youth and entire families from Africa and the Orient that have come into Europe across the “mare nostrum” [the Mediterranean Sea] in the space of one year. The number is about 150,000, by the end of the year it will be almost 200,000.
It is certain that we will see not one, but a complete series of dramatic conflicts, political problems and social tensions. This is the reason we are talking now about a third world war in progress. As well as the immediate response to the emergency, the most important thing [to do] is to look further than the sea. Which means also looking – by reflex – at our own home: not only in political spheres, not only in business affairs, but also inside our own hearts. Is there fatalism or resignation there? What is happening to me?
So, let’s look then at distinguishing first of all the refugees – those in search of asylum – and the immigrants – those in search of work.
The wars the refugees are escaping from are not natural phenomena. Who is causing them? For what reasons? Who precisely are the contenders? We must be informed and be informed by the ones who know. Also this diocesan weekly is called to play a part here.
Some dramatic warnings were launched at the end of the terrible month of August by Syrian and Iraqi bishops at the Meeting in Rimini. The proposal to have another day of prayer for Syria and the Middle East on Sunday September 7 was launched, repeating the one of a year ago at Pope Francis’ invitation. We note that in the meantime the conflict has extended and has aggravated, even if politicians have become more circumspect, by recognizing some of their grave errors. The number of victims however is rising; the persecution of Christians has spread to other religious minorities and the cruelty and arrogance of the armed bands have reached levels of bestial paroxysm. Faced with the armed actions of ISIS, the people are appealing to Governments and International Authorities.
It is my view that we must be demanding of them, like the courageous mothers of the Russian soldiers.
Politicians, you have the duty to protect and defend – not supremacy, but the lives and the freedom of the people, otherwise you will pay dearly for every silence and every act of cowardice. And we the citizens must stop blaming foreigners en bloc. Rather we are asking the Muslims who live among us to show that they are honourable men, and publicly condemn these persecutions and acts of cruelty. Otherwise they ought to have the courage to leave our country, because nobody wants to have enemies in their own home. We know that they are intimidated by fundamentalists, but the time has come to break the vicious cycle of abuse.
The situation is grave, so let’s all get started without hesitation, going beyond either do-goodism or intolerance.
<p>Bishop Tommaso Ghirelli, Bishop of Imola.
(Translation thanks to Rorate Caeli. Our apologies for not linking earlier. The translation above was found on social media, posted by a Church authority, but without any credit given).