COMMUNIQUE – The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued a statement in which they strongly condemns the persecution and displacement of Christians in Mosul, by the terrorists of the the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daash or ISIS). Here is the full text:
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, are horrified and shocked by the persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a militant Islamic group. We are especially alarmed by the ill-treatment of Christians in Mosul, Iraq, who in the last 48 hours were ordered by ISIS to leave their homes by noon on July 19, 2014, or comply with their fanatic demands: convert to Islam; pay Jizya, a tax imposed on non-Muslim people; or die.
We strongly condemn this horrendous behavior and call upon all governments, religious leaders, and peoples of the region to denounce such crimes against humanity. We remind everyone that diversity, tolerance and harmonious living together has been the way of life for centuries in the Middle East, and is the standard by which we maintain just societies. Moreover, we call upon all to respect the dignity of every human being, as each person is made in the image of God.
The tragic events of the recent days will mean that, for the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is a city without Christians. One of the most ancient homes of Christians in the Middle East is today facing eradication by radicals who are confiscating and destroying Christian homes, churches and properties.
The ISIS ultimatum given to Christians to leave the city of Mosul or face the consequences is unacceptable and we condemn it completely. We call upon all in authority to intervene and stop this persecution, and to work to end all violent actions of fanaticism, as they do not genuinely represent any religion or human civilization.
+ Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem