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Syrian bishop: ISIS doesn't understand religion

2015-03-04

ISIS has waged a destructive campaign of terror and expansion in Iraq and Syria. People of all religions have suffered, and Christian minorities have been targeted.

Church leaders in the region have had a particularly difficult experience over the last several years. They say that ISIS does not speak for the majority of Muslims in Iraq, but it is destroying much of the country.

SHLEMON WARDUNI
Aux. Bishop, Patriarchate of Babylon (Iraq)
"They don’t know God, but they claim to speak in the name of God. They don’t understand religion, but they act in the name of religion.”

For years, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony, even though Christians are a small minority group within the region.

SAMIR NASSAR
Maronite Archeparchy of Damascus (Syria)
"If Muslims would have wanted to eliminate Christians, they could have done it a long time ago and they did not...”

Much of the violence, they say, can be attributed to foreign money that finances jihad. The auxiliary bishop of Babylon blamed foreigners for the success ISIS has had in Iraq.

SHLEMON WARDUNI
Aux. Bishop, Patriarchate of Babylon (Iraq)
"How is this possible, without the help of foreigners? They need to leave Iraq in peace.”

The Church leaders said that they had received significant spiritual support from the Vatican. Their suffering has also been eased by the help of Catholic charities.

SAMIR NASSAR
Maronite Archeparchy of Damascus (Syria)
"The Vatican, be it Benedict XVI or Pope Francis have helped us a lot on a social level, through charities like Cor Unum and Caritas Internationalis.”

The Syrian Civil war has been raging since 2011. While Iraq has been a fragile state since the U.S. Invasion in 2003, ISIS began to rapidly gain power in 2014.


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