Petition calls on UN to stop Christian genocide in Iraq

United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Credit: UN Photo/John Isaac.

Following the expulsion of Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul by ISIS jihadists, a new petition calls on the United Nations to intervene in the country.

“The last Christians have left Mosul, after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria gave them a choice between conversion to Islam, ruinous taxation, exile, or death,” said the petition, posted to the website CitizenGo.org.

Posted on July 24, the petition had gained more than 133,000 signatures within five days.

“We must not be silent while another genocide occurs,” the petition said. “We must push for the international community to act on behalf of the Christians in Iraq.  Their survival depends on it!”

Christians have been in Iraq for more than 1,500 years. Over 1 million Christians lived in Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion, but their numbers have now plummeted, and observers fear that they could soon be eliminated from the area altogether.

Extremists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – known as ISIS or ISIL – have taken over and imposed a strict version of Islamic law in territories they control.
 
“We are speechless, because what has happened is really unbelievable,” Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Syroub of Baghdad told Fides news agency. “Christians have lived in Mosul for centuries and these families have suddenly been yanked out of their cities, their homes, their lives. We are very concerned about the future of Christians in this country.”
 
Pope Francis has called for peace in Iraq, and offering prayers for the situation of “our persecuted brethren” in the country.

“They are persecuted; our brothers are persecuted, they are driven out, they have to leave their houses without having the possibility of taking anything with them,” the Pope lamented in his July 20 Angelus address.
 
Many Christians have had to flee to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, whose governor Nawzad Hadi has promised them protection. However, according to U.N. estimates, there are some 2 million refugees fleeing the violence.
 
For this reason, the petition, created by the Catholic news site Aleteia.org, asks the United Nations and the Arab League to “act immediately to save the Christian community in Iraq.”

“Please do not remain silent while genocide occurs right in front of your own eyes,” the petition says.

The petition can be found at http://www.citizengo.org/en/9810-save-iraqi-christian-community.


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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