Patriarchs of the Orient Urge International Protection for Christians from Erbil, Say Idea of Own Province 'Now Acceptable'

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
  • W460
  • W460

The patriarchs of the Orient on Wednesday called for international protection for Christians, considering that the idea of establishing a province for this religious minority “has become acceptable.”

"What we care about is safeguarding the presence of our (Christian) brothers and providing protection for them,” Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said after a visit to the Iraqi Kurdish region of Erbil.

"And today they, as religious and ethnic groups, need international protection,” he noted. “We need the international community to protect Christians (to allow them) to live a normal life.”

Al-Rahi had traveled to Kurdistan earlier in the day at the head of a delegation of patriarchs, in a show of support to the persecuted Christians.

The Maronite Patriarch was asked about comments he had made concerning dialogue with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

He clarified his statement: “I told ISIL you terminated Islam and civilization and humanity.”

“Then in which logic can we address you?” Al-Rahi asked.

Addressing the persecuted Christians, he said: “Your pain is our pain... and we tell you not to thing about migration and you are not here at a station. You have been here for 2,000 years.”

He noted receiving reassurances from President of the Kurdistan province Massoud Barazani.

"We thank them (Kurds) for opening the door in front of our people,” the patriarch said.

Barazani told the religious delegation that “he is holding onto the presence of Christians in Kurdistan.”

"We will live and die together and extremist groups do not differentiate between religions,” LBCI television quoted the president as saying.

Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church Louis Raphael I Sako considered “self defense to be a sacred right,” noting that this means people protecting themselves and not forming militias or units.

"This destroys Iraq and the state's forces are the one that should be tasked with protection,” he said.

Sako also declared that “speaking in constitutional terms, establishing a province for Christians in Iraq is possible.”

"This issue has become acceptable but it could be achieved through dialogue not through fighting,” he stressed.

Earlier in the day, al-Rahi rejected “the fragmentation of peoples' security by terrorist organizations.”

He urged during a visit to Erbil “the international community to mobilize” to thwart the threat of the ISIL and other terrorist groups.

“We should work on liberating the Christians who should remain in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world,” he added.

“We must remain in these countries because the world is in need of the light of the Bible,” he declared.

“We demand that the displaced be allowed to return to their land with dignity. We will not accept anything less than that,” stressed al-Rahi.

The patriarch was accompanied on his trip by Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Youssef III Younan and Ignatius Aphrem II, the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

“We are heading to Erbil as a first step in the implementation of the statement issued by the patriarchs in their last meeting,” stated al-Rahi ahead of his departure from Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport.

“The first and essential clause in the statement is our support for Christians who have left their houses because of the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations,” he added.

The clergymen are scheduled to meet with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and the Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church Louis Raphael I Sako upon their arrival to Erbil.

Islamic State militants in Iraq have been waging a campaign against minorities in Iraq, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

Pope Francis called Monday for collective action through the United Nations to "stop unjust aggression" in Iraq.

Last week as thousands from Iraq's Yazidi and Christian minorities fled attacks by IS jihadists, Francis made a plea to the U.N. to do all it could to stop the violence.

The Vatican's ambassador to the United Nations, Silvano Tomasi, had voiced support days earlier for U.S. air strikes, in a rare exception to papal policy promoting peaceful conflict resolution.

The United States has launched dozens of air strikes in Iraq since early August to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces pushing back IS militants in the north.


Comments 19
Default-user-icon gorgeous (Guest) 20 August 2014, 13:30

Maliki took the most money for weapons, the rest his army left behind when they ran away

Thumb charlesmartel 20 August 2014, 14:42

we need a crusaders army... F16 with crosses painted on the wings and napalm fuelled bombs...

Default-user-icon CFTC (Guest) 20 August 2014, 17:09

people who are stealing usernames are just showing how desperate they are. No brain ... consequently unable to 'fight' with dignity.

Once again, i ask nanaharnet not to display posts that support terrorist group isis (again for LEGAL PURPOSES)
Second, nanaharnet should not allow such bahavior as described hereabove..of course if it wants to prove it is a serious paper. Thank you

Default-user-icon CFTC (Guest) 20 August 2014, 17:42

i know the_roar, already noticed ... don't worry. They can hide behind fake of values are always noticeable

Thumb ado.australia 20 August 2014, 18:04

As i commented before being deleted... the christians can never win in northern iraq or north eastern syria. The west can military destroy any foe, but the real battle can only be won by the sunni kurds and arabs. Only they can defeat mongrel ISIS. Christians only have a local force in lebanon and still its fundamental that they and the sunni, shiite and druze lebanese side with and back the LAF!!! The Lebanese Armed Forces is LEBANON! God bless the LAF. They will win this battle because all of Lebanon (the righteous) are on their side!!

Thumb ado.australia 20 August 2014, 18:56

anonymetexasusa... if the USA didn't remove Saddam Hussein in the first place then non of the 2 million christians would have fled iraq... Now they number less then 400,000. This is ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. Now look at what happened when the USA helped remove Gaddafi from Libya? How peaceful and democratic are these people? Iraq was left due to local politics and not because iraq was ready to control its own people... Iraq is not even country before the british invented it in the 1920s!

thinking that people from the levant and and the gulf are all the same arabs is the biggest lie and problem!

U, who claims to be lebanese should understand this!

Thumb charlesmartel 21 August 2014, 00:51

May be youre right a cross might not be sufficient. We need a swastika !!!

Default-user-icon CFTC (Guest) 21 August 2014, 08:53

sayedalneefak ...are you in charge of naharnet security policy ? if the case, please explain how it works...otherwise ZIP IT (-:

Missing imperatrice 20 August 2014, 15:40

wow flamethrower, you outstand yourself with every post
soon you'll long for the stone ages

Missing imperatrice 20 August 2014, 17:00


Thumb charlesmartel 20 August 2014, 15:46

the West is not the contrary... your statements are not substantiated... either this region adjusts its calendar from hijri to normal or as imperatrice said lets rewind the hijri calendar to stone age... it won't make a big difference...

Default-user-icon big kitty cat (Guest) 20 August 2014, 16:45

Patriarch Al Rahi: "not attending the Parliament to elect a president unconstitutional"

General Michel Aoun: "it's our constitutional right not to attend the Parliament to elect a president"

the Patriarch claims contradict Aoun 100%.
So lads, who is the liar here?

Default-user-icon big kitty cat (Guest) 20 August 2014, 17:37

Rahi and Aoun actual quotes verbatim, not paraphrases as yours are, Rahi and Aoun said them in Arabic but that's a problem for you but i'm sure easy found in Aussie English easier on your brain

Missing a.christian 20 August 2014, 21:28

The answer depends on the degree of brain washing and the number of neurones left.

Default-user-icon kazan (Guest) 20 August 2014, 19:28

Crimes vendetta is not the answer.With all respect the only and sound approach would be that the highest religious leaders of the middle east ( Druze, Muslims incl.sunni and shia , may be later even the jews) will meet and declare that harming people because they have different religion is a crime, and emphatically demand from all authorities of all countries in the middle east, that such crimes must have the highest and most severe punishments. Also all countries should sign a mutual agreement and ensure adherence of the agreement. All governments in the Middle East should be ashamed what is going in there.

Missing a.christian 20 August 2014, 21:29

I despise stupidity

Thumb charlesmartel 21 August 2014, 01:19


Default-user-icon PEACE (Guest) 21 August 2014, 02:59

After weeks of stress this long waited meeting of Heads of Christian minorities coms as a relief for everyone.
It is the duty of UN to impose the safeguard of these minorities who don't want to fight but only to defend their way of peaceful living and this is their full rights.
Any violent group who does not want to integrate I in other communities must be isolated (not eradicated because no one but GOD has the right to take away the life of others)

Default-user-icon Muslim (Guest) 21 August 2014, 04:35

cant even live in peace with themselves? Are you talking about russia-ukraine christians? or christian drug cartels in latin america or christian gang wars in the US? Surely you cant be talking about UAE, Saudiarabia, qatar, kuwait etc because last time i checked their countries are not only in peace but also successful and no its not thanks to "christian phoenicians" lol.