Meets With Delegation of Church LeadersBy Zenit Staff
ROME, November 04, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The prime minister of Iraq says he is going to take charge of the defense of Christians in his country, according to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, archbishop of Baghdad.
The Fides agency reported that the patriarch was given this message by Prime Minister Haider al Abadi on Sunday in a meeting with leaders of the Christian Churches in Baghdad.
Patriarch Sako led the delegation of Christian leaders received by the prime minister.
Prime Minister al Abadi, a Shiite Muslim, repeated several times he personally feels responsible for the protection and defense of Christian citizens, Fides reported.
The government leader also lamented the mass exodus of Christians from Iraq.
"With regard to the tragic story of the land fallen under the control of the Islamic Caliphate, we urged the Prime Minister to promote in every way the liberation of the occupied lands," the patriarch said. "With much realism he acknowledged that military action will not be enough to solve the problem and that, in the long run, a process that removes the roots of the phenomenon, and brings out the true face of Islam open and respectful of all rights should be encouraged."
In the meeting, the heads of the Christian communities in Baghdad also mentioned some recent incidents of violence suffered by Christians in the capital.
"Recently," says the Chaldean Patriarch, "some Christians were kidnapped and some houses of Christian families were attacked by a group of criminals who wanted to occupy them. The Prime Minister has promised that he will enhance the presence of military units in the neighborhoods, and also said he was willing to co-opt another Christian minister in the government. I was told me he is a man of word and keeps his promises."