OXFORD, England (CNS) – French Catholics have urged church support for a campaign to stop Western companies from buying oil from Islamic State, in effect funding the mass killing of Christians.
“Our brothers and sisters are being massacred, women and children taken into slavery – and while Christians are suffering most, so are Muslims and other minorities,” said Joseph Thouvenel, vice president of the French Confederation of Christian Workers.
“As Christians, we’re trying to record the names and ages of victims, so they won’t be forgotten. But we also need church leaders to help stop the persecution by reaching out to public opinion and pressing governments to act,” said Thouvenel, a Catholic.
A new association, Nouveaux Martyrs (New Martyrs), prepared a day of action in Paris June 14 to raise awareness of atrocities by Islamic State and other movements.
In a June 4 interview with Catholic News Service, Thouvenel said 84 members of France’s Parliament had signed a New Martyrs petition, demanding a parliamentary inquiry into which French companies had been trading with Islamic State.
He added that the association, which he heads, had gained backing from the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need and said many Catholic clergy and religious had also signed the petition and sent messages of support.
The rally will include prayers and victim testimonies outside the UNESCO building, while the petition, demanding an “urgent official inquiry,” will be delivered to France’s Foreign Ministry.
“Revolted by the appalling plight of Christian populations confronted by the bestiality of these blood-thirsty groups, we demand an assurance from our parliament that not one drop of terrorist petrol is being purchased by French firms,” the petition says.
Thierry Bonaventura, spokesman for the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, agreed with the need for firm action and said Islamic State brutalities reflected “general degradation in the understanding of religion.”