22 January 2015

An interview with Bishop Habash about the real situation with ISIS

The National Catholic Register's Doreen Abi Raad recently sat down with His Excellency the Most Reverend Barnaba Yousif Habash, Bishop of the Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance, which has its see in Bayonne, New Jersey, to discuss the dire situation of the Christians in Iraq and Syria. Bishop Habash is a native of Qaraqosh, Iraq.

Please, take the time to read the interview, in which His Excellency spared no words, so that you might come a fuller understanding of what is happening now with the Islamic State. Here are a few snippets:
  • Why? The jealousy of the devil is what happened. This storm, what happened to them, you can easily call it the jealousy of the devil. They are Christians; they are authentic people. They are hard workers for peace. They love the others. They love their country. And all of a sudden, they have been told it’s not allowed for you to continue with Christianity without paying a tax, although we are in our land 600 years before Islam, although we were the teacher of the prophet of Islam. We were the teachers of the language of Islam; we were the teacher of the law of Islam; we were the engineers of the buildings and cities of Islam, since the beginning, until recent days. We are their doctors, as we were before; we are their professors. We taught them everything, until the last hours of our existence. Their sick were brought to our hospitals, treated by our doctors.
  • I visited more than 500 families in tents and uncompleted buildings. They said to me, “You are most welcome, Bishop.” And they have absolutely nothing. “Oh, you know what, Bishop, yes, we lost everything, but we still have our faith in the Lord Jesus.” Honest to God, almost every family said this: “We give thanks to the Lord. We are still Christian.” And our people were very convinced that, although they had been through a very evil storm, the arm of God saved them. They understood this very well.
  • I came from Irbil, I saw the miserable people, the catastrophe, and I have to speak with diplomatic words and to hide the crime, the crime of the world? Because what happened is truly genocide: uprooting innocent people of the wonderful and peaceful civilization of Christianity in this part of the world. But, unfortunately, when you speak about human rights in Europe or America, it is only for your people inside your country. But concerning the outside, the other human beings: “No, we don’t care; it’s their problem.” I say that about the (Western) politicians, not ordinary people. Americans are the most generous people, the most fine, with their love and with their respect. But the foreign politics is from hell. Nobody cares about us.
  • When we speak out, we get the routine answer from the Islamic religious or the Muslim authorities: “They are non-Muslim, the Islamic State.” How can it be, they are non-Muslim? All of them are Muslim. Or: “They work outside of the Islamic world.” So who is the financial source of ISIS? It’s very clear; it’s Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, no one has the guts to say that. Who is fighting Syria? Who is supporting and financing the war against Syria? It’s very clear: Saudi Arabia.
  • Please pray for our people. They do need prayer. And these prayers will save us, surely, surely. All the iron gates made by politics, by religion, will be broken; all the Christians will be liberated like Peter, when he was in prison and the angel brought him (to safety).

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