Iraqi bishop calls on US, Iran to ‘leave us alone’

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in Brisbane last week (The Catholic Leader/Emilie Ng)

Mosul’s leader of Syriac Catholics has asked the United States and Iran to let the Iraqi people live in dignity, as tensions escalate in the combating countries. Source: The Catholic Leader.

by Emilie Ng, The Catholic Leader

Archbishop Youhanna Boutros Moshe is leader of the Syriac Catholic Archeparchy of Mosul, in northern Iraq, located about 90km from the Erbil US military base that was struck by missiles reportedly fired by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

The military base in Erbil was one of two strikes by Iran, launched in “revenge” for the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by a US drone strike near Baghdad airport on January 3.

During a pastoral visit last week to meet refugees who had fled Iraq to live in Brisbane since 2014, Archbishop Moshe said the Iraqi people deserved to live in dignity.

“We do not want Iraqis to be the playground for fighting of these big powers,” the archbishop said. “It’s enough, it’s enough, it’s enough of all this. Let them leave us alone and live our own lives in dignity.”

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil warned in a statement that tensions must not escalate.

“Iraq has been suffering from proxy wars for decades; they have torn our country apart,” Archbishop Warda said.

Iraqi Catholics suffered enormous displacement when the Islamic State took over the communities of Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, in Iraq’s north.

When IS was defeated in 2017, the remaining Christians sought to rebuild their homes.

Both the Syriac archbishop and Chaldean prelate are now calling on help from the global community, praying the leaders of the two opposing countries will stand down from the conflict.

“We hope in the grace of God and also good people and the big heart in the world will always look after us,” Archbishop Moshe said in Brisbane. “Many of them are coming to us and expressing their hope and their help and we are very thankful to them.”

FULL STORY

Iraqi bishop visiting Brisbane calls for fighting between ‘big powers’ to stop (The Catholic Leader)

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Statement from Archbishop Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq (Aid to the Church in Need)

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