BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai has called the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria to a dialogue.
"Humanity is the only thing we share with you. Come let’s talk and reach an understanding on this basis ... you rely on the language of arms, terrorism, violence and influence, but we rely on the language of dialogue, understanding and respect for others,” Rai addressed ISIS during a speech Wednesday at a dinner of the Episcopal Media Committee.
“What have the Christians in Mosul and Iraq done in order for them to be treated with such hatred and abuse?" he asked.
His comments were published Thursday by the local daily An-Nahar.
Iraqi Christians living in Mosul fled to the Kurdish autonomous region last week, ending a presence stretching back nearly 2,000 years, after ISIS militants set a deadline or them to submit to Islamist rule or leave.
ISIS has strengthened its control over Iraq’s second largest city by imposing Shariah law and threatening Christians who won’t convert, forcing thousands to flee Mosul.
Lebanese politicians from across the divide condemned the persecution of Christians by ISIS and Speaker Nabih Berri has called a parliamentary session on July 26 in solidarity with Christians in Mosul.