The president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has appealed to Muslim leaders publicly to condemn Islamic terror in Iraq and to declare that violence in the name of God is never justified.
“I know the Islamic State (IS) is not Islam, but I hear too little about Shia and Sunni leaders getting together and publicly, but also forcefully, stating that there must never be violence in the name of God, never be murder in the name of God and never be suppression in the name of God,” Cardinal Marx said in a statement published on the German bishops’ conference’s homepage. He appealed to Muslim leaders to “set a sign of peace”.
Christians and other religious minorities were in such a terrible situation in Iraq at the moment that it was only right and proper “to rescue them with all the means at one’s disposal”, Cardinal Marx underlined. “Rescuing people whose lives are threatened and who are in a state of angst is not only permissible but called for”, he insisted and called on Germans to give generously to the charities concerned.
IS is “cruel and inhuman”, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin said in a message read out in St Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin on 17 August. “Belief in God and hatred do not go together.” He called on the German Government to “intensify its advocacy of human rights, religious freedom and the protection of minorities in Iraq and Syria”.
The leader of the Greek-Orthodox Church in Austria, Metropolitan Arsenios (Kardamakis), accused the Western world of inaction and indifference to “the terrible persecution that Christians worldwide are having to face”. “It hurts to see the ‘civilised world’ failing to react when children are suffering and dying ... such a civilisation gives us no hope and makes us sad,” he said.
Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury said last week that attacks on minorities in northern Iraq, including Christians, were "off the scale of human terror we've seen in recent years" and called for evidence to be gathered for future war crimes prosecutions.
Archbishop Justin Welby, on a one-day visit to Australia for the inauguration of Melbourne's Archbishop Philip Freier as Anglican Primate of Australia on 13 August, said ever since the “war to end all wars” ended in 1918, humankind had been saying “never again”, then wrung its hands "as genocide unfolds in some distant corner".