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Orthodox Church condemns Mosul attacks on Christians

Iraqi Christians fleeing the violence in the towns of Qaraqush and Bartala, both east of the city of Mosul in the northern province of Nineveh, pray at the Saint George church on July 1, 2014 in the Kurdish autonomous region's capital Arbil. AFP PHOTO /KARIM SAHIB

BEIRUT: The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Wednesday condemned the attacks on Mosul’s Christians, calling on states funding extremist organizations to stop immediately.

“We strongly ... condemn the attacks against the Christians of Mosul,” a statement by the Patriarchate said, “and the exerted coercion forcing them to change their belief, pay a tax or leave their homes, while having their properties confiscated.”

“These fundamentalist movements,” the statement added, “are the most dangerous for ... coexistence.”

The statement called on states that provide fundamentalist groups with any direct or indirect foreign support to “immediately stop all forms of material, logistic, military and moral support,” saying that the terrorist groups threaten “the people and peace of those states first.”

“Christians and Muslims are two lungs of one Eastern body,” the Patriarchate said, “and we condemn anything that harms the reputation of the forgiving Islamic religion, with which we have experienced the peace and fraternity.”

Separately, the Orthodox Church condemned the Israeli offensive against Gaza, calling the international community to act urgently and end the attacks.

“We call on the international community stop the fire machine in Gaza and break the vicious siege imposed on our brothers in Palestine,” the Patriarchate said, saying that the Palestinian cause remains the central cause.

“The Palestinian people’s insistence on their land and their eagerness to go back to it remain a source of hope to every person suffering in this East,” the statement said, but a stigma on the forehead of those whose ‘human rights’ stop at the Palestinian borders.”

 

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