ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarchate disowns Christian members of paramilitary groups threatening revenge against Sunnis

Thursday, 16 February 2017 jihadists   oriental churches   paramilitary groups  

Kaldo Oghanna

Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - Mr. Ryan Salem who yesterday appeared in a television program to assert that Iraqi Christians are also present in Mosul to fight and take revenge on Sunni Muslims, "has nothing to do with the Christ’s moral teachings, messenger of peace, love and forgiveness", and cannot "make such statements involving Christians", as it "does not represent them in any way". This is what the Chaldean Patriarchate released yesterday evening, a real formal notice, just after national television network had aired the reckless statements made by Ryan Salem, a Chaldean Christian from Alqosh, linked to paramilitary groups of popular formats formed mainly by Shiite Muslims. During the televised speech, the character in question, speaking on behalf of Christians, appeared alongside Sunni prisoners, probably captured as collaborators of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh).
The patriarchal statement complains that such statements have the effect of exacerbating sectarian conflict and expresses the wish that all the basic principles of military ethics in the operations of recapture of Mosul are respected. Sources close to the Chaldean Patriarchate, contacted by Agenzia Fides, reported that the immediate disavowel of the militant’s statements also aim to nip in the bud misunderstandings and manipulations that could lead to reprisals against the local Christian communities.
In the past (see Fides 16/06/2016), the Chaldean Patriarchate had distanced itself against militants operating in paramilitary groups who were participating in war operations flaunting crosses, effigies of Jesus and other Christian symbols. "These are individuals who act in a bad way: the flaunting of Christian symbols is part of evil, and foments clashes related to religion, spirals of revenge and more suffering", said Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako to Fides.
On several occasions, the Chaldean Patriarchate wanted to emphasize its distance even from active armed groups on the Iraqi scenario that seek to claim their affiliation to the local Christian community. The same Patriarch Louis Raphael has repeatedly suggested to Christians who wanted to participate in the liberation of the cities occupied by the Islamic State to join the national armed forces or the Peshmerga militias, which refer to the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, avoiding in every way to create sectarian militias that ultimately end up fueling all forms of "religious sedition". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 16/02/2017)