International News

International Help Needed to Liberate Iraq

by Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis’ personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community Aug. 18, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State (IS) terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who has been in Iraq since Aug. 13 at the pope’s request, and Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad said international action is necessary to provide the displaced with basic necessities but also to guarantee the possibility of their survival in Iraq.

The cardinal and patriarch asked nations to “take their moral responsibility seriously” by helping to liberate villages in northeastern Iraq captured by militants. They said the Christians, Yezidis and other minorities forced from their villages because they would not convert to the militants’ idea of Islam just want to return to their homes and live in peace.

Cardinal Filoni has been talking about his trip with Vatican Radio each day. He spent Aug. 15 with displaced Christians in a camp in Duhok and meeting Yezidi community leaders. The Yezidi community is “suffering terribly because of the deaths they have had, the kidnapping of their women and their houses being stolen,” he said.

Chaldean Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona of Mosul, Iraq, told Vatican Radio that the IS militants “represent a great threat to humanity. … These groups don’t just want to conquer a piece of territory. … Their objective is the whole world.”

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