Lebanon Patriarch wants ‘dialogue’ with ISIS
Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi has called for dialogue with the al-Qaeda inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after the militant group drove Christians out of the Iraqi city of Mosul.
“Humanity is the only thing we share with you. Come let’s talk and reach an understanding on this basis,” the Patriarch addressed ISISI during a speech Wednesday at a dinner of the Episcopal Media Committee, the Daily Star reported.
“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 added.
Days earlier, the group gave Christians in Iraq’s second city Mosul an ultimatum to convert, pay a special tax, leave or face death. Thousands have since fled.
Rahi asked: “What have the Christians in Mosul and Iraq done in order for them to be treated with such hatred and abuse?”
Maronite priest Abdo Abu Kasm, head of the Catholic Media Center, told Al Arabiya News that the goal of the dialogue “is to return the Christians to Mosul, and building a culture of peace and love with all people.”
He added: “I doubt anyone can object to dialogue, no one should. A dialogue with anyone always has a positive outcome, not a negative one.”
Christians “have always been the children” of Mosul, “not intruders,” Abu Kasm said. “They’ve been there since the dawn of Christianity.”
Yonadem Kanna, an Iraqi MP and leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, told Al Arabiya News that Christians would return “only after purging Mosul” from ISIS.
“We don’t have any trust in dialogue,” Kanna added. “This isn’t a group to have a dialogue with.”
Muslim figures worldwide have condemned the activities of ISIS in Iraq and Syria
ISIS currently controls around a third of Syrian territory, and is continuing its expansion in Iraq.