Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - "The victims of violence in Syria are all Syrians, Muslims and Christians. And the poor are those who suffer most, those who have not had a chance to escape". While the evacuation of the population from the east districts of Aleppo controlled for years by rebel militias continue with great difficulty, Father Jacques Murad, Syrian monk of the Deir Mar Musa Community, in a statement issued to Agenzia Fides said that a possible authentic reconciliation will take a long time.
"The atrocities of war" remarked Father Murad "have inflicted torments to all communities, to people of all faiths. The first victims of Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State, ed) were Sunni Muslims. In this sense, I consider it inappropriate to say that there is an ongoing 'genocide' of Christians in the Middle East. Christian communities who have been living in those lands since the beginning of the Christian message were certainly affected", continues Fr. Murad, "but it is not right, and agrees not to present Christians as the only victims of the war. This would only increase sectarianism".
According to the Syrian Catholic monk, reconciliation will take time: "We must ask first of all God to heal mortal wounds. We, as Christians, can do something important: despite the hardships we are going through, we can show our solidarity with fellow Muslims who have suffered like us and most of us. In this way we also help the Christian communities of the Middle East to remain in the lands where they have always lived".
Meanwhile, in New York, today at 9 am (local time), the UN Security Council prepares to vote on the text of a resolution on sending United Nations observers to Aleppo to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the population and rebel militias still present in the eastern districts of Aleppo reconquered by the government army and its allies. This morning the evacuation of civilians and militiamen from the eastern districts of Aleppo continued, and at least a thousand people h left the city in convoys directed to the border areas with Turkey.
Father Jacques Mourad is currently in Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where he carries out his priestly ministry also at the service of many displaced Christians from the Nineveh Plain, who fled before the advance of the jihadists of the Islamic State. In May 2015, Daesh militiamen had abducted him, taking him from the monastery of Mar Elian, in the Syrian city of Qaryatayn, and he had been held for months, and then released in Qaryatayn".
"While in prison", says to Fides Father Murad "every day I was afraid that it would be the last. On the eighth day, in Raqqa, a chief jihadist came to my cell and asked me to consider my abduction as a sort of spiritual retreat. I was impressed by those words. I am sure that the commitment of my community to help all those in need in Qaryatayn region, both Christian and Muslim, made sure that all the 250 Christians of that city, even after being deported by the jihadists, then found freedom, and were safe and sound". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 19/12/2016)