|ISIS is on the verge of military defeat, but unless those displaced from the Nineveh Plains can return, ISIS will have succeeded in its ideological objective to eliminate religious minorities from the region, according to the experts working on resettlement efforts, according to a statement issued on November 30, 2017, by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN.
The statement came at the end of the event the Holy See sponsored together with the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC) and the Knights of Columbus, entitled “Preserving Pluralism and Diversity in the Nineveh Region” at UN Headquarters.
In opening remarks, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, said that restoring those displaced by ISIS back home to the Nineveh Plains will not only require restoring houses, schools, and places of worship, but also rebuilding society towards peaceful coexistence for the region’s diverse ethnic and religious groups.
“Daesh sought to eliminate pluralism and diversity from the Nineveh Plain,” he said. “Therefore the only way to make sure Daesh cannot claim any victory is to restore, and restore urgently, pluralism and diversity to the region.”
Returning religious minorities to the Nineveh Plains, where 40 percent of Iraq’s Christians lived before 2014, is also of deep importance to Pope Francis. After being given a brand new, special edition Lamborghini Huracan in the middle of November, he announced that the luxury car would be auctioned off with the proceeds donated to the “Return to the Roots” project being coordinated by the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee.
In addition to contributing millions of dollars in aid to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, the Knights of Columbus played a large role in petitioning the United States Congress to recognize the atrocities committed by ISIS towards Christians as genocide.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus said that if the displaced religious minorities are unable to return home to the Nineveh Region, ISIS will have won their ideological battle.
“While ISIS is now gone as a military force, so too are the victims they forcibly evicted,” he said. “The philosophy behind their genocide – the idea of cleansing Iraq of religious minority groups like Yazidis and Christians – is on the cusp of success.”
Copyright © 2017 Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, All rights reserved.