“What could be more clear?” Anderson asked. “They are targeting Christians for extinction and they are making no secret about it.”
Archbishop Warda said he keeps hope alive for Iraqi Christians by reminding them that they are not forgotten. Aid from abroad that helps them secure decent housing, schools, clinics and other services helps them know this.
Iraqi Christians’ plight is better compared to the Yazidi population, but their families who have fled to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan are in a “dreadful” situation.
Anderson urged North American Catholics to contribute financially “even a little bit” to the Knights’ Christian Refugee Relief Fund and pass the word to their fellow parishioners.
Yousif Thomas Mirkis, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk, said American and Canadian Catholics can learn from Iraq’s Christians.
“Share knowledge, share hope, and share concern,” he said, even suggesting some visit his diocese. “If you come, only three days in Kirkuk is better than three hours of explanation.”
In his view, many North Americans have difficulty understanding the situation and are isolated from global problems.
The Islamic State group has now gone global, according to the archbishop. He pointed to a professed Islamic State ally’s attack on a night club in Orlando as a moment of awakening, and as an opening for Iraqi Christians to help Americans.
“We are aware. We are educated. We speak Arabic. We write in Arabic. We can help. We can advise,” Archbishop Mirkis said.
The Syrian situation was also a topic in Toronto. Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo told reporters Syria was “a wonderful country” that is now destroyed.
“When I think about it, yes, sometimes I am almost crying… because it’s terrible,” he said. “The people there have no more food for their children, no work or income, and are under constant attack.
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“Our people are terrorized and we are really in a big danger of disappearing… because an exodus has begun.” He has a plea for those who want to help the Church: “help us. Help us by stopping this savagery.”
Archbishop Warda said he keeps hope alive for Iraqi Christians by reminding them that they are not forgotten and that “God is with them.” Aid from abroad that helps them secure decent housing, schools, clinics and other services helps them know thIs.
In Iraq, Archbishop Mirkis runs a university to help young people of all religions resist the negative forces in the country.
“I gather many students, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi. I help them to stay in Kirkuk and to attend university. I have 400 students. In this way I build the future,” he said.
Like Archbishop Warda, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Yousseff III Younan of Antioch invited Catholics to visit Christians in safe parts of Syria to learn the humanitarian and political problems for themselves.
The patriarch at times voiced positive sentiments towards Syrian president Bashar Assad, whose violent crackdown on protesters helped trigger the Syrian Civil War.