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Communique from Middle Eastern Church Leaders - Iraq Crisis

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  • Thomas Daniel
    Communique from Middle Eastern Church Leaders - Iraq Crisis It saddens us profoundly to see the failure of efforts for peace in Iraq exerted by many parties
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2003
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      Communique from Middle Eastern Church Leaders - Iraq Crisis

      It saddens us profoundly to see the failure of efforts for peace in
      Iraq exerted by many parties throughout the world. In fact,
      governments, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, the World
      Council of Churches and regional councils of churches, and millions
      of people crying out in various cities throughout the world worked
      for a peaceful solution to prevail over the solution of war. Today we
      have witnessed the start of a military campaign against the people
      and the land of Iraq. Nobody knows how long it will last or what
      impact it will have not just upon the people of Iraq but also upon
      the entire Middle East. Furthermore, there is no predicting the
      impact that the unilateral American decision for war will have upon
      the United Nations and international organizations, their credibility
      and their effectiveness in solving conflicts through negotiated
      agreements. They will be severely weakened, their authority shaken,
      their very existence threatened.

      Churches around the world condemned this war as immoral. They have
      said this firmly and with conviction ever since this crisis began to
      develop. More specifically, they have condemned this war for its
      disregard of principles of international law, its ambivalence to the
      most basic human values and rights, its potential for tragic human
      repercussions in Iraq and the Middle East region, as well as its
      threat of aggravating tensions between religions, giving substance to
      the false thesis that there is an inevitable clash of civilizations,
      cultures and religions.

      What we feared and labored to avert has happened. Now, in our
      responsibility as heads of churches, caretakers of God's creation and
      as fellow humans, we have added responsibilities, and as such:

      We will continue to exert our efforts with all parties concerned and
      all who may have an effective voice both internationally and
      regionally so as to limit the temporal and geographical expansion of
      the war, spare innocent civilians, and bring it to a halt as quickly
      as possible.

      We call especially upon those governments that opposed this war and
      upon international organizations concerned with health, relief,
      development and human rights to hasten in helping those who have been
      hit by this war, helping them avert the dangers that threaten their
      lives, their possessions to live a dignified life.

      We urge the Middle East Council of Churches and all humanitarian
      organizations to remain on a state of high alert in marshalling,
      intensifying and directing social and humanitarian services both now
      and for as long as required in order to help those stricken by this
      war, especially in Iraq.

      We call on all the members of our churches and all citizens of our
      countries to strengthen their unity and solidarity with each other,
      resisting all foreign incursions and self-interested, extremist
      interferences that seek to undermine our national unity and fraternal

      We call upon our faithful, our fellow citizens, and all who love
      peace throughout the world, each in his or her own way, to lift up
      their hearts in ardent and sustained prayer to our God that He may
      open the eyes and clear the vision of political decision-makers to
      see clearly God's will and work for a just, comprehensive and lasting
      peace, not only for Iraq but also for the Middle East and the whole

      Beirut, 21 March 2003

      Patriarch Ingatious Zakka I Iwas
      Catholicos Aram I
      Patriarch Ignatious IV Hazim
      Archbishop Chrysothomos
      Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir
      Patriarch Nerses Pedros XIX
      Patriarch Ignatious Butros VIII
      Patriarch Gregorious III Lahham
      Patriarch Michel Sabbah
      Cardinal Istephanos II Ghattas
      Patriarch Raphael Bedawid
      Archbishop Kirollos Selim Bustoros
      Rev. Dr. Selim Sahiouny
      Bishop Riah Abul Asal
      Bishop Munir Hanna
      Rev. Dr. Safwat al-Baiady
      Rev. Dr. Ikram Lamii
      Rev. Adib Awad
      Rev. Mograditch Kerakozian

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