Iraqi Christian: “We have actually been weakened by the stance taken by the Vatican”

Iraqi Christian: “We have actually been weakened by the stance taken by the Vatican”

Aziz Emmanuel al-Zebari is right. Last September, the Pope met in the Vatican with Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL), a group that has been linked to the financing of jihad terror. During the meeting, al-Issa thanked the Pope for his “fair positions” on what he called the “false claims that link extremism and violence to Islam.” Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar, has also thanked Francis for his “defense of Islam against the accusation of violence and terrorism.”

Pope Francis has proclaimed that “authentic Islam and the proper understanding of the Koran reject every form of violence,” doing his bit to ensure that as many Christians as possible would remain ignorant and complacent about the jihad threat that his precious “dialogue” does nothing to mitigate.

Pope Francis is a disgrace to the Catholic Church, to Judeo-Christian civilization, and to the free world.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

“Iraqi Christian hits Pope’s ‘submissive’ policy on tolerance for Islam, other religions,” by Hollie McKay, Fox News, May 30, 2018:

ERBIL, Iraq – Iraq’s Christian community, still struggling to pick up the pieces of a genocidal ISIS campaign to wipe them from their ancestral homeland, are speaking up against Pope Francis and the Vatican for not doing enough to support their struggle for survival.

“We have actually been weakened by the stance taken by the Vatican,” Aziz Emmanuel al-Zebari, 68, a Chaldean political candidate, community leader and professor at the Catholic University of Erbil (CUE), told Fox News in a recent interview. “The Vatican is teaching the community to be submissive. That won’t help us get our rights.”

In the view of Zebari and other Christians, the Pope’s repeated emphasis on a greater tolerance for and understanding of Islam has left the deeply persecuted Chaldean minority feeling insecure and vulnerable. It has also sparked internal divide between those who follow the Pope’s guidance and others – like Zebari – who insist their survival rests on being much more outspoken.

Zebari referred to the Pope’s approach as “naïve and short-sighted.” For those like the Chaldean community leader – who are far from the comforts of Rome and remain in the line of fire – their lives are marked by a continual sense of the unknown.

“There can’t dialogue when one party is down and the other party has the upper hand,” Zebari lamented. “There is no equal ground here.”

Zebari said Chaldeans “have paid a high price for being Christian, and we cannot prevail without protection. When I am displaced, when my family is threatened with sexual violence and I’m then told just to pray and be tolerant…”

The Chaldeans belong to the Eastern Catholic Church that, while technically independent of Rome, recognizes and looks to the Pope as the authority. The Chaldeans, along with the Assyrians and Syriacs, make up the three major Christian groups in Iraq.

Since the sudden rise of ISIS in 2014, in which it quickly gained control of huge swaths of Christian lands across Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, the Pope routinely took the posture of speaking staunchly in defense of Islam and religious tolerance all around.

In May 2016, when the ISIS invasion was at its bloody pinnacle, the Pope asked that everyone pray God would “convert the hearts” of the deadly perpetrators, and stressed that it was wrong to identify Islam with violence. Pope Francis has instead blamed social injustice and worship of money as being among the leading causes of terrorism.

He has condemned those who support anti-immigration policies, urged Christians to take in Muslim refugees, and housed Muslim refugees in the Vatican to send a message of inclusiveness. He also campaigned repeatedly for religious tolerance and “inter-faith” dialogue.

But earlier this year, Iraqi Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil spoke more directly to problems within Islam. He spoke in a speech at Georgetown University about the “fundamental crisis within Islam itself,” and warned that if the crisis were not acknowledged, addressed and fixed, “there can be no future for Christians in the Middle East.” He encouraged “courageous voices from Islamic leaders” to continue highlighting the need for change.

A spokesperson for CUE and the Archbishop, in response to the published comments, told Fox News that “Mr. Zebari does not speak for the Chaldean Catholic Church or for the Catholic University of Erbil, but only in his private capacity as an individual.”

“While he is entitled to his opinion, the Chaldean Catholic Church is grateful to Pope Francis for his many statements and signs of support for our persecuted people,” the representative noted. “Most recently, these include announcing that our Patriarch will be made a Cardinal, and leading prayer for Christians in the Middle East in Bari on July 7.”

Nonetheless, there are believed to be less than 200,000 Christians left in Iraq – down from 1.4 million 30 years ago, according to Iraqi census data. Most now live in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, and in the ISIS-battered areas of the Nineveh Plains on the outskirts of Mosul….

“We don’t expect any support from the Vatican,” Zebari said. “We are in a hopeless situation.”…

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