Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Bashar Warda, says education and literacy can combat Islamic State barbarity.
According to AsiaNews, the archbishop serving Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital warned that in the long term, the greatest dangers facing Christians in the Middle East are “ignorance and illiteracy.” The archbishop made these comments a year after the mass exodus of the Christian community that lived in the Nineveh plain, fleeing from Islamic State or ISIS.
Because of this, he added, “we are working to help our young people complete their studies,” noting how it is hard to imagine a future in which boys and girls in the region are without Christian education.
“Our ancestors chose education as a means of promoting culture in the land of Mesopotamia, which was theirs when it was invaded from the Arab desert at the time of Islam’s expansion,” he said. “The situation is very similar today, with Christians facing the onslaught of the Islamic State.”
When thinking of Iraqi intellectuals, he pointed out that the contributions Christians have made to philosophy, history, mathematics and science are well recognized.
Speaking on the current situation in Iraqi Kurdistan, he noted, “Today, we can say it is safe and its government is of great help to us. Now we wait for the liberation of our lands but, more importantly, we expect them to be made safe before we can start reconstruction.”
Last year, hundreds of thousands of people left the Christian villages in the Nineveh plain overnight, Aug. 6-7, and found refuge in Erbil and other areas of Kurdistan. Archbishop Warda led rescue and aid work of Christian refugees and acknowledged the “great help” they have received.
However, the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil noted that refugee families still are in great need of good shelter, education and especially health care. (D.C.L.)