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September 16, 2014 2:35 pm

Mideast Christian Leaders Call Arab States ‘Timid’ in Confronting Islamic State

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Patriarch Ignace III of the Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch. Photo: Charfet Seminary. – Prominent Middle East Christian leaders say that Muslim leaders have been “timid” in their response to the massacres by the Islamic State, and urged Arab leaders to do more to defeat the terror group.

“The situation of Christians and other minorities amid the massacres and atrocities of [Islamic State] is dire and our future in the region is at stake,” Patriarch Ignace III of the Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch said at a news conference announcing a joint statement by eight Middle East Christian leaders, Reuters reported.

“The leaders of Arab countries and the Arab League have to stand up and do something,” he said.

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Chaldean Catholic leader Patriarch Sako of Iraq joined the Syrian patriarch in calling on Muslim leaders to issue a fatwa against the killings of religious minorities, saying that their voice so far “has been very timid.”

Patriarch Ignace also blamed the close ties between Islam and the governments of many Arab countries for those nations’ reluctance to recognize the human rights of Christians and other minorities.

“Our Arab friends tell us they want us to stay but we have to ask them: what are you doing to stop the fanaticism of your fellow Muslims?” he said.

According to Patriarch Sako, more than 10,000 Christians have been killed in Iraq by the Islamic State jihadists and some 170,000 have been expelled from their traditional homeland in the Nineveh Plains region of Iraq.

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