Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako
Baghdad 27 august 2016
The world was taken by surprise when, in the name of Islam, ISIS (Daesh) and Resembling Organizations constrained human freedom; displaced and killed civilians; or burnt them alive; enslaved women and took them captive; and demolished religious as well as cultural monuments. This kind of extreme ideology has resulted also in ruining the relationships among people within the same country and in the region.
Such events provoke the following question: Isn't it the right time for Muslims and non-Muslim people of good will around the world to deal seriously “not superficially” with this situation? Especially, when we know that the majority of Muslims are neutral / unbiased, open-minded and willing to work hard for the benefit of their countries and their fellow citizens. Their initiative should be a united and strong stance, with which they can together stop the spread of "ISIS" cancer by standing against isolation, extremism, hatred, violence as well as rejecting coexistence, citizenship and advanced technology (modernism). Also, to put an end for what ISIS is proclaiming, that the only way to gurantee Paradise / Haeven is to kill innocent people whether by explosive belt, a vehicle bomb, or a knife, etc. This is a real destruction of intellectual.
Muslims should show the real face of Islam to the world and confirm that extremism is in contrary to their believes. On the other hand, they ought to express the meaning of Islam message, which is different from ISIS¬¬¬¬ claim. As we know, the mission of all religions is love, tolerance and forgiveness and should be understood by considering the spirituality of the text and its’ indications .Therefore, we believe that Muslims have to show commitment to the core message of Islam, respecting God and other religions.
In conclusion, Christians are waiting for governments and religious authorities to work together for confronting and dismantling terrorism and extremism through spreading a culture of freedom, reason, openness, tolerance, coexistence, love, respect of human rights and diversity. This can be achieved through; reforming schools’ curricula, which is currently the major source for teaching extremism; creating the foundations of peace, stability, cooperation and justice; adopting civilized, calm and courageous dialogue to resolve such crises, which affected and devastated people and their countries; and to establishing a state of law and institutions.
Finally, people have the right to enjoy a stable and secure life and are entitled to have equal rights and duties with a reasonable level of services.
To prove what I referred to in terms of injustice and constraning human freedom in addition to the misuse of religion, I am listing below excerpts from some religious sermons and fatwas calling constantly against Christians and must be dealt with decisively:
Every religion other than Islam is infidelity and off track, and every place of worship other than Islam’s is the house of heresy and deviation …
Even those who believe that churches are places where God is worshiped, or that what Jews and Christians do is sort of worship is considered infidel …
Prohibition extended to warn Muslims from greeting Christians in Christmas and Easter.
Pray may God make all Christians' wives widows and their children orphans.
Therefore, such speeches and attitudes will produce, with no doubt, people who translate the hatred carried by these words to an action in fighting those who are classified as “infidels” according to such fatwas!.
Christianity was born and bred here in the East and Christians are the owners of this land, forming an essential part of the fabric of the Middle Eastern society. They built and developed the Arabic culture and civilization. It is unfortunate that they have been attacked unfairly along the history and their existence in the region is threatened repetitively. So, there is an urgent need to formulate a brave, clear and official stance to support and encourage them to stay in the Middle East since majority of them represent the most skilled people in education, economic, culture, etc. This can be done by providing security, legitimate rights of every human being that leads to equality, consolidation of co-existence, etc.