Pope Francis has considerably upped the ante in enlisting spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I – to sign a joint Common Declaration demanding an end to international indifference regarding Islamic State barbarism being perpetrated against religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.
The Common Declaration constitutes an impassioned plea on behalf of 1.2 billion Catholics and 300 million Orthodox Christians world-wide for concerted international action to eradicate Islamic State.
Whilst two seemingly indifferent Permanent UN Security Council members - Russia and China – and another 129 member States of the UN stand on the sidelines - an American-led coalition comprising the remaining 62 UN member States has been doing the heavy lifting confronting Islamic State outside United Nations authorisation – prompting the Pope and Bartholomew to declare:
While recognizing the efforts already being made to offer assistance to the region, at the same time, we call on all those who bear responsibility for the destiny of peoples to deepen their commitment to suffering communities, and to enable them, including the Christian ones, to remain in their native land. We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years. Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes. It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests. And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many.
The Pope and Bartholomew have demanded this shocking state of affairs be met by:
an appropriate response on the part of the international community.
No nation should shirk from its duty to eradicate the threat Islamic State poses to the breakdown of world peace and security.
The grave challenges facing the world in the present situation require the solidarity of all people of good will...
Islamic State needed to be confronted by Muslims and Christians together:
Inspired by common values and strengthened by genuine fraternal sentiments, Muslims and Christians are called to work together for the sake of justice, peace and respect for the dignity and rights of every person, especially in those regions where they once lived for centuries in peaceful coexistence and now tragically suffer together the horrors of war
In a further pointed criticism of Russia – the Declaration stated:
We also remember all the people who experience the sufferings of war. In particular, we pray for peace in Ukraine, a country of ancient Christian tradition, while we call upon all parties involved to pursue the path of dialogue and of respect for international law in order to bring an end to the conflict and allow all Ukrainians to live in harmony.
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