- La situazione sta peggiorando.
Gridate con noi che i diritti umani sono calpestati da persone che parlano in nome di Dio ma che non sanno nulla di Lui che è Amore, mentre loro agiscono spinti dal rancore e dall’odio.
Gridate: Oh! Signore, abbi misericordia dell’Uomo.
Mons. Shleimun Warduni
Baghdad, 19 luglio 2014
giovedì, maggio 25, 2017
May 22, 2017
The meeting was organized and attended by His Eminence Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Cardinal Schonborn and Dr. Christian Von Geusau, President of the International Catholic Legislators Network.
During the meeting, His Holiness and their Beatitudes discussed with His Excellency the Vice President the general situation in the Middle East as well as the Christian presence and what they are suffering of due to the wars and conflicts in the region. They also discussed the persecutions and expulsion that they are facing in their homeland, especially in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The three patriarchs confirms that it is extremely important to preserve the Christian presence in their homeland.
Vice President Pence showed sympathy with the cause of the Christians in the Middle East and promised to work to have peace and dialogue in the East.
Their Holiness and Beatitudes commended the outcome of the meeting of Pope Francis and the US President Donald Trump in the Vatican where they confirmed the need for peace especially in the Middle East and the need to protect religious minorities in the region.
His Holiness, their Beatitudes and His Eminence the Cardinal met with officials in the US State Department as well as Congressmen, activists and NGOs concerned about the situation of Christians in the Middle East. They discussed with them the ways to preserve the presence of Christians in their homeland. His Holiness also asked the help of the US officials in the case of the return of the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.
Their Holiness and Beatitudes were the guests of His Excellency Mgr. Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio for the USA.
The meetings were also attended by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern USA, His Excellency Mar Francis Kallabat, Chaldean Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Thomas in the Eastern USA, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, Rev. Fr. Habib Mrad, Syriac Catholic Patriarchal Secretary, and Mr. Manuel Baghdi, Advisor of HE Cardinal Schonborn for the Immigrants Affairs.
Da segretario del vescovo di Mosul, monsignor Faraj Rahho e parroco della Chiesa dello Spirito Santo, padre Ganni si misurò più volte con la crudeltà degli islamisti e assistette alle violenze sistematiche ai danni dei cristiani in Iraq. Nel 2004 il sacerdote martire si salvò miracolosamente dall’attentato all’arcivescovado di Mosul. Poi i numerosi attacchi alla sua chiesa e le tante minacce. Fino al 3 giugno del 2007. «Ti avevo detto di chiudere la chiesa, perché non l’hai chiusa?», disse il suo assassino. «Non posso chiudere la casa di Dio», rispose il sacerdote prima di essere ucciso da una raffica di proiettili.
martedì, maggio 23, 2017
"One would have thought Armageddon had already taken place," Pastor William Devlin of Infinity Bible Church in the Bronx, New York, and president of REDEEM, which provides funds to persecuted people across the world, told The Christian Post late last week.
Devlin, who saw firsthand the devastation earlier this month, recounted:
"Stately stone homes, thousands of them burned by the Islamic State beginning in August 2014 and continuing through October 2016; every business gutted, its metal drop down doors, each littered with Arabic graffiti -- 'We are the sons of Muhammad; Christians and Jews are the sons of apes, monkeys and pigs;' every cross and crucifix distorted, bent or ravaged into a dystopic mess.
"Every church in this city -- Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East -- had their wooden pews piled into a heap and set on fire. Blackened soot coated the entire ceilings and inside of these formerly beautifully maintained houses of worship; church bell towers blown up and toppled, church courtyards transformed into firing ranges, used for training of Islamic militants, sporting now headless mannequins filled with bullet holes."
Additionally, stone reliefs of martyred saints on walls had been "hammered to oblivion."
The pastor, who has been to Qaraqosh twice now, told CP that that the city, which once had the country's largest Christian population of 50-60,000 people, has been left without water and electricity, and called it a "modern-day ghost town."
"The destruction is total -- in the sense of buildings, businesses, homes and churches -- but the destruction is far wider in the hearts, souls and minds of those Christians who fled this city on August 6, 2014," he commented.
Devlin has visited Iraq multiple times now, helping provide relief for displaced Iraqis, and partnering with a network of underground rescuers that are assisting women and girls to escape the clutches of the radical terror group.
Speaking with former Qarakosh residents who now reside in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, he recalled their words:
"There is no future for Christians in Iraq; should we go back to our burned homes, our decimated businesses, our destroyed churches? How will we start a new life back there when there is no guarantee of safety for our children, for our families?"
Though statistics vary, reports all point to the dramatic exodus of Christians from Iraq.
Iraqi Christian lawmaker Josef Sleve told Anadolu Agency earlier in May that over the past 14 years, some 1.5 million Christians have emigrated to other countries, with somewhere between 500,000 and 850,000 followers of Christ remaining.
Devlin said that the Nineveh Plain, which hosted the largest part of the country's Christian population for almost two millennia, now only has 200,000 Christians.
"Armageddon has arrived for our Nineveh Plain and Iraqi sisters and brothers," the pastor stated.
Still, there have been reports showing that some former Qarakosh residents have decided to return to the ravaged city to assess the damage, and figure out if rebuilding their lives there is possible.
The Atlantic article revealed that a handful of families moved back to the city, despite security concerns still high over Islamic State and its battle for control of nearby Mosul.
Organizations such as Aid to the Church in Need and others have been helping in rebuilding efforts across the Nineveh Plain, Fox News reported earlier this month. Some 13,000 houses are to be built in a venture that will cost close to $250 million.
"For a long time people have been saying that Iraqi Christians don't want to return home," said Robert Nicholson, executive director of The Philos Project.
"Having spoken to many of them, both inside Iraq and around the world, I can tell you that's absolutely untrue. Many of them would love to come back, and some of them actually are."
Devlin told CP that many other Christians are deciding not to return, however, because there is no promise of security to protect them.
"Many former residents of Qaraqosh I have personally spoken with, are distrustful of KRG-Kurdistan Regional Government and particularly the Peshmerga of protecting them, establishing societal infrastructure [such as] water, sewer, electricity," he said of people's political concerns.
"Some feel that KRG, the Kurds want the land of the Nineveh Plain, to take it from the Christians. Even though there are now Christian militias -- NPU, NPF -- they could not stand up to Peshmerga if there was a battle for the ultimate control of Qaraqosh and other Christian cities in the Nineveh Plain."
Devlin noted that for some, the emotional and psychological question of how many of their Muslim neighbors are either open or secret sympathizers of IS also remains a big factor.
"There have been multiple reports of Christian and Yazidi homes/businesses being pilfered/ransacked by Muslim neighbors and even the Peshmerga," the pastor explained.
"The fear factor among the Christians returning to their ancient homeland is high due to the above reasons."
lunedì, maggio 22, 2017
venerdì, maggio 19, 2017
giovedì, maggio 18, 2017
Viene presentato per la prima volta, in occasione del Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino presso lo Stand Progetto PRODIGE un antico Libro Sacro della Chiesa siriaca-cattolica proveniente dalla più importante città cristiana del Kurdistan iracheno, Qaraqosh, nell'antica Piana di Ninive. Un manoscritto che racconta e ricorda le migliaia di profughi in fuga dalla guerra, il processo di annientamento delle diverse popolazioni, la distruzione di interi territori ed il "genocidio culturale" in atto in tutto il Medio-Oriente.
"Estirpare le radici profonde della cultura di un popolo significa recidere in modo definitivo i legami complessi che si intrecciano nel tessuto sociale di una società umana", afferma Gianfranco Cattai, presidente FOCSIV. "Non a caso la Storia ci ricorda che spesso il distruggere le vestigia, il dare fuoco ai libri ha provocato la definitiva scomparsa di alcuni popoli, delle loro tradizioni, della loro lingua. È cancellare la memoria degli uomini".
"Da tre anni", ricorda Cattai, "siamo a fianco ai tanti sfollati nel campi di Ankawa 2 e Aishti ad Erbil, a Kirkuk e Al Kosh e ora in quelli spontanei nati sulla strada per Mosul. Un lavoro condotto ugualmente in Libano, Siria, in Turchia dai volontari delle 7 ONG socie FOCSIV aderenti alla Campagna Humanity – essere umani con gli esseri umani. Oltre a creare le condizioni per una vita dignitosa ed a pensare alla ricostruzione del futuro di queste persone, siamo consapevoli che mesi di occupazione, di violenze, di guerra e di condizionamento ideologico hanno inciso profondamente nel loro animo. Dobbiamo, quindi, volgere il nostro impegno soprattutto alla ricostruzione del tessuto sociale con l'educazione, la formazione grazie alle quali si possono recuperare le tradizioni e la cultura millenaria di accoglienza e tolleranza di tutto il Medio Oriente. Per questo", conclude Cattai, "crediamo che il recupero del Manoscritto, possa simbolicamente rappresentare per tutti che un altro futuro è possibile".
Il Manoscritto, individuato lo scorso gennaio dai giornalisti Laura Aprati e Marco Bova, successivamente consegnato dall'arcivescovo di Mosul, nelle mani dei volontari FOCSIV ed è giunto in Italia grazie all'impegno diretto del ministro dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Dario Franceschinie di Giulia Silvia Ghia presidente di Verderame progetto cultura.Oggi è ricoverato presso ICRCPAL – Istituto Centrale per il Restauro e della Conservazione del Patrimonio Archivistico e Librario che ne effettuerà il restauro nei prossimi mesi, studiandone i contenuti e dandone una datazione e collocazione storica.
Al termine del restauro il Libro Sacro tornerà nelle mani del legittimo proprietario l'Arcivescovo di Mosul. Il Libro, probabilmente attribuibile al XVI secolo, è scritto in aramaico con un carattere siriaco in nero e rosso, a sottolineare con questo colore le interruzioni, il cambio di lettura o di lettore. è un testo dedicato al rito liturgico e alle preghiere della Chiesa siriaca-cattolica. È costituito di 116 di pagine in carta, con una copertina di legno e cuoio, arricchito con alcuni disegni con simboli religiosi, in parte danneggiati. Il manoscritto era per il sacerdote, a cui era stato affidato, una sorta di manuale per i riti di tutto l'anno liturgico. Non è riportato il nome dell’amanuense, sicuramente sono stati effettuati nei secoli degli interventi di restauro e di inserimento di pagine, che sostituivano le originali forse andate perdute o usurate con il tempo.
"SiTI da anni è attivo sul tema della sicurezza e della realtà virtuale come strumento destinato alla gestione delle emergenze, incrementando la capacità di eseguire efficaci operazioni di risposta congiunta ai disastri naturali, attraverso la creazione di protocolli innovativi di training degli operatori basati sulla realtà virtuale", sottolinea Romano Borchiellini, presidente di SiTI.
"Le tecnologie sviluppate possono essere utilizzate, oltre che nella gestione delle emergenze, anche per la tutela del patrimonio culturale: esse permettono, tra l'altro, di descrivere le opere d'arte e i monumenti rendendoli fruibili a distanza per studiosi e ricercatori; consentono di conservare la memoria e la fruibilità di siti distrutti da calamità naturali e da attacchi terroristici ed aprono prospettive nuove nel campo del restauro conservativo e ricostruttivo".
A Torino sarà possibile vedere il Manoscritto all'interno di una teca mentre, con degli appositi occhiali, i visitatori potranno con l'utilizzo della realtà virtuale, in modo efficace ed intuitivo, vedere da quale contesto il libro proviene e quali distruzioni abbiano subite le strutture che lo accoglievano da secoli.
Un sistema quello della realtà virtuale che può, grazie alle sue grandi potenzialità, migliorare l’efficacia e l’efficienza dei processi di protezione del patrimonio culturale fondamentali, in questo momento nelle diverse aree del Medio Oriente coinvolte dai conflitti.
“We cannot rest, we cannot be content, we certainly can’t be complacent knowing our sisters and brothers are being oppressed, imprisoned, and killed,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. stated in his May 12 keynote address at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.
“When fellow Christians suffer, we suffer too. Injustice, this extraordinary injustice, should arouse in us the need to speak,” he continued.
Last week’s D.C. summit, hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, featured more than 600 Christian leaders from 130 countries, including those who have suffered persecution in countries like Syria, North Korea, Iraq, Egypt, and Cuba.
The gathering was meant to shed light on narratives of Christian persecution amidst totalitarianism, secularism, tribalism, or religious extremism, and enable leaders to collaborate on pushing for religious freedom and tolerance.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the summit on Thursday, as well as Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church. Cardinal Wuerl delivered the keynote address on Friday.
Catholic and Orthodox leaders at the summit emphasized that Christians play a vital role as religious minorities in African and Asian countries, acting as peacemakers and bridge-builders in societies fraught with sectarian strife.
Fr. Douglas al-Bazi, a Chaldean Catholic priest who was kidnapped and tortured for several days in 2006 by terrorists in Iraq, spoke to EWTN News about the continued Christian witness of forgiveness there, despite the mass displacement of communities at the hands of the Islamic State and the betrayal by their neighbors.
Christians are unique in the sense that they are the only group that is practicing widespread forgiveness, Fr. Bazi said. “Because even (with) what’s happened to us, we are still believing in the future, we are still believing in life, we are still looking forward to live together again.”
Fr. Bazi is now serving in New Zealand, thousands of miles from his former parish in Erbil, Iraq where he ministered to Christian refugees of ISIS. He runs Project 52, which helps disabled children in Iraq with the goal of having them adopted by families in New Zealand.
“My body is in New Zealand, but my heart is still in Iraq,” he said.
When ISIS overran large parts of Northern Iraq in 2014, Christians were given an ultimatum to convert to Islam, leave, or die, and many fled eastward to Erbil.
Now, after ISIS forces have been driven back from the Nineveh Plan and most of Mosul, many refugees have returned to see their homes damaged or destroyed, and their furniture stolen.
One family spent a night in their home but were kept awake by their neighbor yelling that they were infidels, Fr. Bazi said. “No ISIS anymore, but still the mentality of terrorists…the radical way,” he said.
“So my people, again and again, they are between two fires, to live in camps, or to go back again to hell, I mean Mosul.”
As Christians move back into their homes there, “the trust between people, actually, is completely lost,” he admitted. Yet Christians will forgive, and in time the relationships may be mended.
It is imperative that the Christians who can stay in Iraq do so, he maintained, as they will serve as a necessary “bridge” between minorities. “(If) we don’t have Christians, we don’t have examples of forgiveness in Iraq,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Syria, Christians are caught in the middle of a proxy war that has raged since 2011 with no immediate end in sight. They co-existed with Muslim neighbors for centuries, but that balance stands to be upset as refugees are forced to flee their homes for elsewhere within Syria or to other countries.
Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Orthodox Church told EWTN News of how the Church there helps those in need, the majority of whom are Muslims.
“We do that, not only because it’s our mission, it’s our faith that teaches us to help everyone,” he insisted, “but also because we want to invest in our future with these people, these our neighbors, our countrymen, women, and our future is together.”
Fr. Alexi Chehadeh, director-general of ecumenical relations and development for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, rejected the idea of dividing Syria into Alawite, Sunni Muslim, and Christian sections.
“We are against this,” he said. “We want a unified Syria under one flag,” adding that he wished “that Muslims and Christians are living together in peace and harmony.”
However, not all Christians around the world are setting an example of neighborliness, tolerance, and forgiveness. “Some of the conflict involving Christian groups and some of the persecution is coming from Christians,” Dr. Timothy Shah told EWTN News.
Shah is the director for international research of the Religious Freedom Research Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
He pointed to examples of Christians persecuting other Christians in Russia, Mexico, Latin America, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine.
In Mexico, for instance, Protestant families have been driven from their villages for their beliefs. “You’re talking about people whose lives are drastically affected,” Shah said. “This simply should not be happening in an era where the Holy Father talks about the ecumenism of blood.”
In Russia, the Supreme Court just outlawed Jehovah’s Witnesses from publicly practicing their faith. In Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has backed “laws restricting conversion,” he said.
Through his rhetoric, the cardinal “is not, let’s be candid, practicing, I think, the kind of spirit of brotherhood with non-Catholic Christians that I think the Holy Father has himself clearly embodied, both when he was archbishop in Argentina and also as Pope,” Shah continued.
Yet there is also a palpable “sense of hope that Christians really can respond effectively” to persecution, he said, citing the recently-released report “Under Caesar’s Sword” which documents how Christians around the world have decided to respond to persecution, many times through non-violence, dialogue, and forgiveness.
Despite the witness to charity of fellow Christians in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, the Western Church must do much more to help them through prayer, charitable giving, and advocacy, speakers at the summit insisted.
Cardinal Wuerl compared the duties of Christians in the West to help their persecuted brethren to Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus to carry his cross.
“Just as Simon of Cyrene stepped forward to help Jesus carry his cross, and for that reason has forever been indelibly imprinted in the iconography of the Christian world, so my brothers and sisters do we have to find ways of stepping forward,” he stated in his Friday keynote address at the summit.
“Life has not greatly improved” for Christians living in the shadow of ISIS, he maintained, as many of the displaced are still homeless and dependent on aid groups for their basic needs.
“Together, alone, individually, collectively, whenever the opportunity presents itself, and even when it is inconvenient, we must lift up our hearts in prayer, our hands in help, and raise our voices in witness,” he said.
In Iraq, for Christians to have a future they must be considered equal citizens under the law, Fr. Bazi explained, and Western Christians can help by pushing for the overturning of Article 2 of the Iraqi constitution, which declares that “Islam is the official religion of the State” and that “no law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”
The article states that the constitution “guarantees” freedom of religion, but Fr. Bazi said that since it prohibits any laws contradicting Islam, Sharia law largely applies in practice, and there is no religious freedom.
He hoped the Trump administration could press Iraq to change that article, and that Pope Francis and President Trump will discuss the future of Christians in the Middle East in their upcoming meeting on May 24 at the Vatican.
In Syria, the international community must help provide more aid to those displaced by the conflict as they cannot yet return to their homes and “the churches are overwhelmed with the services they are offering,” Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II told EWTN News.
But there also must be a lasting end to the conflict through an end to the arms trade and the international community coming together on a peace agreement, he said. Otherwise people will not be able to return to their homes.
“In Syria, particularly, the Russians and the Americans are flexing their muscles there, the Iranians and the Saudis are fighting there,” he said, and Israel and other countries have an interest in the outcome of the conflict. “Unless all these groups come together,” he said, “and agree on a plan, I don’t think peace will be restored.”
Furthermore, groups like ISIS sell oil from Syria and Iraq to Turkish companies and other third parties, including Europeans, and this must stop, he insisted.
As a world leader, the U.S. has a key role in fighting religious persecution around the world, former congressman Frank Wolf told EWTN News, but in the “past several years” international religious freedom has been “kind of ignored” by members of both parties in Congress.
If the training is put into practice, and members of Congress have access to a Prisoners of Conscience List, they can have information on persons detained by foreign governments for their religious beliefs and can request to visit these prisoners when they travel abroad.
Asked about the lack of advocacy for persecuted Christians worldwide, Wolf was blunt: “I think the church in the West has failed.”