VIOLENCE CAN NOT BE OVERCOME WITH VIOLENCE
The Papal Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a statement concerning actions of the Jihadists from the Islamic Country in Iraq. The Vatican document states that the whole world is observing with astonishment the so-called return of caliphate which was abolished on 20 October 1923 by Kemal Ataturk – a creator of the modern Turkey.
Questioning the return of caliphate by most Muslim religious and political institutions did not hinder the Jihadists from the Islamic Country to take criminal actions, unworthy the human being, which both the Council and people engaged in the interreligious dialogue – believers of all religions and people of good will – can only explicitly condemn. The council particularly condemned killing people only because of their religion. The document says about the cruel practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging corpses in public places, about imposing the choice between conversion into Islam or paying an extortion (Jizya) or an escape on the Christians; and deportation tens thousands of people by force, including children, elderly people, pregnant women and the ill; kidnapping Yazidi and Christian girls and women as a war loot; imposing barbaric practice of infibulations (mutilation of women); destroying places of cult and Christian and Muslim mausoleums. One should also mention criminal actions towards places of cult: occupying them by force, profanation of churches and monasteries; removing crosses and other religious symbols, both the Christian ones and of other religious communities; destroying Christian religious-cultural heritage of precious value.
The Papal Council emphasizes that nothing ‘excuses such barbarism, and not religion at least’ and this is ‘the most serious sin against humankind and against God’.
Authors of the document also remind that for ages the Christians and the Muslims have lived together in Iraq and despite ‘rises and falls’ – they elaborated culture of cooperation and civilization of which they were proud. On this basis in the recent years there has been a deep dialogue between them. In the document one can find not only the description of the situation but also constructive propositions of solutions. In the opinion of signatories, the dramatic situation of the Christians, Yazidies and other religious and ethnic communities, which are in a big minority, in Iraq require taking a clear and brave attitude by religious superiors, especially the Muslim ones, people engaged in the interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. Everybody should unanimously and explicitly condemn the crimes and referring to religion as their excuse. Otherwise, how credible will their religions, their believers and superiors be? How credible with the interreligious dialogue be, which has been patiently conducted in the recent years? – ask the authors of the statement.
They call religious superiors to influence governments so that they would take actions for preventing crimes, punishing their culprits, returning the country of law on the whole territory of Iraq and providing the resettled with their return to their homes. They should also remind that it is immoral to support, finance and arm terrorists.
The Papal Council expresses its gratitude to those who have already spoken to condemn terrorism, especially when it uses religion for its excuse. – So, let’s add our voice to the voice of pope Francis: ‘Let God awaken everyone’s authentic desire for a dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence can be overcome with peace!’ – we read in the Vatican document.