ASIA/IRAQ - Militants attack civilians fleeing, displaying Christian symbols. Chaldean Patriarch: they have nothing to do with Christianity

Thursday, 16 June 2016 paramilitary groups

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - In the war scenarios around Fallujah, where an offensive is taking place to liberate the city from the control of the jihadists of the Islamic State, also paramilitary groups are operating and are responsible for assaults and violence even against groups of civilians fleeing from the territories occupied by Daesh.
In recent days, pictures have been circulating in the media and in social networks, showing some militiamen operating in paramilitary groups who participate in operations displaying crosses, effigies of Jesus and other Christian symbols.
The Chaldean Patriarchate issued a statement to express the condemnation of such acts, and to reiterate that the perpetrators cannot claim any relationship with Christianity .
"These are individuals who act in a bad way: displaying Christian symbols is evil, and foments clashes related to religion, spirals of revenge and more suffering" refers to Agenzia Fides Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I. The paramilitary groups that these individuals belong to have a mixed composition from a religious point of view, and perhaps the display of Christian symbols aims to demonstrate that the militias of popular defense against the jihadis have the support of all religious groups.
But the consequences of this unfortunate operation appears dangerous for everyone, starting from Christians.
On several occasions, the Chaldean Patriarchate wanted to emphasize its distance even from armed groups on the Iraqi scenario that seek to claim their affiliation to local Christian communities, and could obtain military funding and supplies thanks to a US parliamentary measure (see Fides 19 May 2016). The same Patriarch Louis Raphael has repeatedly suggested to Christians who want to participate in the liberation of the cities occupied by the Islamic State to join the national armed forces or the Peshmerga militias. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 16/06/2016)

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