Mideast Bishop: US invasion of Iraq led to ‘one of the great disasters of this century’
May 24, 2010
In an address entitled “The Middle Eastern Synod in its Geopolitical and Pastoral Context,” Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem analyzed the situation of Christians in each region of the Middle East. Commenting on Iraq, he said:
The U.S. invasion decimated the Christian community. Before 1987, it numbered 1.25 million followers, mostly Chaldeans. Today they are less than 400,000. One of the great disasters of this century is the massive exodus of Iraqi Christians due to the insecurity and harassment of which they are victims. In Iraq, the war unleashed forces of evil in the country, among varying political streams and religious denominations. It has taken a toll on all Iraqis, but the Christians have been among the main victims because they represent the smallest and weakest of Iraqi communities. Even today, global politics completely fail to take them into account. This is in addition to other calamities that have struck the Christians of the Middle East in the past two centuries:
The genocide of one million and half Armenians in Turkey in 1915; The genocide against the Maronites in 1860 and the Lebanese Civil War caused the exodus of many Christians; The constant emigration of Christians from the Holy Land for more than a century.
The four major problems facing the Church in the Middle East, added Bishop Shomali, are emigration, conversions to Islam, the rise of political Islam, and the ghetto mentality.
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May. 25, 2010 12:06 AM ET USA
With all due respect, His Excellency should be howling at his brother bishops right now. We invaded Iraq and "imposed" a secular gov't because our political leaders haven't seen a mandate to honor any faith traditions. Period. How can we berate politicians for their poor actions when our bishops won't confront the myth of the Separation of Church and State?