By Fr. Steve
As you may have heard, there is a lot of warfare in the Middle East. Currently there is a war going on in the Holy Land between Israel and Palestine (there often never seems to be peace there at all).
Currently, there is also a deep persecution against OUR people in Iraq—our Chaldean brothers and sisters. I recently had my friend Fr. Pierre out to celebrate the Chaldean Mass. At right is an image that has been painted on the doors of our Catholic brothers’ and sisters’ homes, marking them as Catholics, and, in effect, forcing them to either convert or face the sword.
I could say a few things on this, but it would be much better to hear what Elizabeth Scalia wrote. She is a great Catholic blogger and explains well what is happening.
What is ISIS?
“If you haven’t heard the name ISIS (also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL and recently renamed, the Islamic State), then welcome back from the planet Mars. The marauding Islamic jihadist blitzkrieg killing its way across Iraq has made itself known largely for its brazen violence and its ruthless intolerance of anything that approaches apostasy. And who is deemed an apostate? Any non-Sunni who disagrees with the draconian dictates of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Al-Baghdadi, now known as the Caliph of the newly named Islamic State, has decreed that “apostates” must convert, pay a sizable tax and leave, or die. Given mere hours to accede to such demands, near pandemonium has ensued as businesses and homes are marked with the scarlet letter, “N” for Nazarene, serving as a pejorative Arabic word for Christians. Once a building is marked, the wrath will soon follow.
“If you flee, you leave your home, your possessions, your community, and your culture. What little you carry is soon stripped and looted from greedy militia men. You leave with your lives and the clothes on your back. But what if you can’t or don’t leave? What awaits you? Beheadings, amputations, gunshots, and crucifixions. Also, unbending Sharia law including women and girls forced to undergo compulsory genital mutilation and to don the most conservative of clothing. You know these are bad people when even Ayman al Zawahari, al Qaeda’s de facto leader, disavows them finding them too difficult to control.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Large swaths of previously secured Iraqi land and resources have fallen. Cultural and religious treasures have been destroyed. The Iraqi Army is in disarray and the Iraqi Government has been shaken up.
“It is about as bad as it can get for Iraqis and especially, Iraqi Christians. And in the midst of this carnage, this religious/cultural extermination, a piercing voice emerges from the Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad, Shlemon Warduni, when interviewed by Vatican radio,
“‘We have to ask the world: Why are you silent? Why do not you speak out? Do human rights exist or not? And if they exist, where are they? There are many, many cases that should arouse the conscience of the whole world: Where is Europe? Where is America?’”
What can be done?
“So what do we do as fellow Catholics? As citizens of the US? There are a number of things that we must do, not just think about doing. First, we must pray for the Christians in Iraq. They need our prayers and our support spiritually. Second, we must fast and do penance for them. This is one of the most powerful things we could possibly do. It unites us to them in a great way. Third, we have to speak out against this outrage. We as citizens, as Catholic-Americans, must write our congressional representatives and those who serve us. Fourth, there is a refugee organization based here in Detroit to help Christians as they flee from persecution to be settled here in America. You can visit the website and donate there to help them out: adoptarefugeefamily.org.”
In heart of Jesus & Mary,
Fr. Steve encourages you to cut out this image of the Arabic letter “N” for Nazarene and post it on your door in support of our Catholic brothers and sisters in the MiddleEast.