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Cardinal Filoni Meets With Pope Following Mission to Iraq

asianews.it

Fides Agency - published on 08/22/14 - updated on 06/08/17

For this purpose, would it not be useful to know in the first place who provides money and weapons to jihadists, and aim at stopping the flow?

These are bodies and groups that operate showing that they are well supplied with arms and money, and one wonders how it is possible that all this passage of arms and resources escapes the control of those who have the duty to monitor and prevent such tragic developments. The question I heard from many is that on "remote control," on who moves things from far away. But I think that, for now, it is difficult to give an answer.

You were Nuncio in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Can the current crisis be put in relation with the events of 2003 and the way in which an end was put to that regime?

Yes and no. On the one hand, an upheaval in the Country that has created many critical situations and suffering has been produced, even if we must never forget that before there was not a calm and ideal situation. On the other hand, more than ten years have gone by. The more we move away from those events, the more one wonders if what is happening today is just the fault of others and of those facts of the past, or if there are other responsibilities. And we need to ask what has been done in all this time, and what could have been done.

Even the Pope has insisted that the victims of what is happening in Iraq are not only Christians, but all minorities. What does this emphasis suggest?

Obviously in the West, the situation of Christians is known. But, for example, the Yazidi have asked us to talk about them because – so I have been told – "we are a people with no voice and no one talks about us." The dramatic situations that I have seen and what they are experiencing really makes them the first victims. But there are Shiite villages from which all had to run away. And then the Mandaeans, and all other groups.

You spoke with influential political leaders both in Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad. Do they still share a unifying perspective for the future of the country or are the centrifugal forces unstoppable now?

Iraq is a composite country. A political-geographical expression which appeared from 1920 onwards, where the extent of the country is not perceived as uniformity but as multiplicity. The Authorities and the bishops speak of a mosaic of presences, cultures, and religions. Of course if this mosaic remains intact it has its own beauty and a future. But if one begins to remove the tiles, sooner or later everything can fall apart.

The unity of the State is guaranteed by the Constitution, but then it has to be realized in the life of the Country and this is difficult, partly because each group carries their trauma, suffering, long persecution, injustice. Now Iraq is a Country to be rebuilt, and can remain united only if such units and the respect of different identities find space.

In the West, some take advantage of the events in Iraq to relaunch the contrast between Christianity and Islam.

There is a fact: as I have already said, the attacks affect Christians, Yazidis, Shiites, but also against Sunnis. So the question cannot be set as a conflict between Islam and Christianity. On the other hand, those who are carrying out these terrible actions against minorities do it in the name of an intolerant political-religious ideology. And this is something that should make one think.

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Tags:
Christians in the Middle EastIraqPope Francis
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