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Catholic leader warns of 'destruction' of Christians in Middle East
By Mark Mueller | NJ Advance Media for
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on September 28, 2015 at 5:04 PM, updated September 28, 2015 at 6:04 PM

Saying he represents a "forgotten people," the leader of one of Catholicism's oldest branches on Monday implored the United States and Europe to intercede in what he described as the systematic purging of Christians from the Middle East.

Ignatius Youssef III Younan — bishop of the Syriac Catholic Church, one of nearly two dozen Eastern Rite churches in union with the Roman Catholic pope — issued his plea during a press conference at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.

Younan spoke as scores of world leaders gathered at the United Nations, less than 15 miles away, to find common ground on the most pressing international issues, including the plight of millions of migrants who have fled war, discrimination and economic upheaval.

"We are at a period of destruction, of devastating events that really put our future in jeopardy," said Younan, a guest of Newark Archbishop John J. Myers. "... My people are endangered. We need a miracle."

Vox Wrote:Oh, the silence. It's deafening, isn't it?

And to think that, on top of the media pretending as if these martyrs don't exist (just like their 1st to 4th century forbears), these Christians -- these true refugees, as opposed to the economic immigrants who're looking for free housing, free money, free food (well, free to them, but costly for the Europeans who have to pay for it all), are barred from the UK while the Muslim freeloaders are allowed in.

The press briefing came one day after Pope Francis' departure from Philadelphia following a six-day U.S. trip in which the pontiff repeatedly urged the international community to help those who have fled their homelands.

Christians have long been a tiny minority in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. But since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Younan said, their numbers have been cut by two-thirds or more, primarily in Iraq and Syria.

Vox Wrote:The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, yes. That invasion we were lied to about from top to bottom. An invasion of a country that didn't do jack squat to us and which, post-9/11 brainwashing aside, was wanted by no one but a handful of neo-cons who put Israel's interests above America's needs. Here's a fun, short video excerpt from C-Span:

And look at the results. An excerpt from that article:

Excerpt Wrote:Since October 2013, the US has only provided $416 million in humanitarian aid, far from what is needed, he said.

"Americans and the West were telling us they came to bring democracy, freedom, and prosperity," said Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon who spoke before the Security Council, in an email. "What we are living is anarchy, war, death, and the plight of three million refugees."

Contrast that with the fact that, since 1948, the US has given $121 billion to Israel.

Population of Israel:  8.059 million (2013)
Population of New Jersey:  8.938 million (2014)

Me, I'm against governments dealing in foreign humanitarian aid (though I absolutely, 1000% approve of private citizens and groups engaging in such) -- BUT, if we're going to be giving money to people, it should be people who need it, people who are true refugees (not economically-motivated immigrants), people who are starving, who have no homes. It shouldn't be given to a place that has one of the world's strongest economies, a country that's in the top ten of those with the highest concentration of billionaires, and a country that works against American interests at every turn (including spying on us).  And of course, there's all the money deluded Christians send to help the poor starving Jews of Israel:

(To read more about that Rabbi Eckstein, see this old thread. It's u-n-r-e-a-l!  

"I am not talking about a story of the past," said Younan, who was visiting from Beirut. "I am talking about a catastrophic hate of our people. ... Their survival is at stake."

Violence, repression and persecution have driven an estimated 600,000 Christians from Iraq, he said. Tens of thousands of more have fled the civil war in Syria amid kidnappings, murders and the destruction of centuries-old Christian holy sites, Younan said.

He laid part of the blame on the rise of the the Islamic State, the terrorist organization also known as ISIS or ISIL.

After seizing the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in August 2014, he said, the group killed or expelled Christians who refused to convert to Islam.

"We were there for centuries," Younan said. "Now Mosul is empty of its history."

Vox Wrote:
... it's just heartbreaking. May God have mercy...

In Baghdad, the number of active churches has been cut by two-thirds, a consequence of continuing sectarian violence and rising fundamentalism, he said.

"Chaos does not help the minorities," Younan said. "The Sunni and Shiite majorities, they fight it out. We Christians have no means to defend ourselves."

He challenged western governments and the United Nations not only to support those who have fled, but to work toward ensuring that those Christians who remain in their homes can continue to do so without threat.

"We really think we have been forgotten by the United States and the European Union," Younan said. "We feel betrayed. ... The Western countries have forgotten their principles."

Vox Wrote:Western countries haven't "forgotten" their principles; they've been overtaken by elitists who've taken those principles, smashed them up into balls, and rolled over them with a Mac truck a few times. We the peons in Western lands have zero control over what our politicians do. We can pen letters all day, pull levers, petition and protest, but the politicians do what their highest bidders tell them to do, and what those highest bidders want is the utter destruction of Christendom.

Here's something telling:  in the midst of this heart-wrenching humanitarian crisis in which Christians are being raped, beheaded, forced to flee their homes, turned away by countries filled with people who share their view of the True, Good, and Beautiful, here's what happens when you type in "Christian refugees" (in quotes) and "antisemitism" into Google's search engine, and then hit the "News" tab. Underneath are the news agencies showing up in the first page of search returns for each query:

About 133,000 results (0.21 seconds)
Breitbart News
Open Democracy
Gatestone Institute (their article: "Is the Pope Ending Catholic Anti-Semitism?")
Arutz Sheva
LA Daily News
YNet News
Daily Californian
Jerusalem Post
The Electronic Intifada
Campus Watch
Toronto Sun (their article: "We must work harder to prevent anti-Semitism"
Accuracy in Academia
Salon (their article: "Is America ready for a Jewish president? The anti-Semitism facing Bernie Sanders"
The Intercept
The Atlantic (their article: "Understanding Hitler's Anti-Semitism". How timely, eh? The attitudes of some guy who's been dead for 70 years is more important to report on than genocide that's going on right now)

"Christian refugees"
About 43,100 results (0.22 seconds)
Human Events
Catholic Herald Online
Middle East Eye
International Business Times
FrontPage Magazine
Christian Examiner
Christian Broadcasting Network
Christian Today (blog)


Christians who fled have found refuge in Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq, as well as in Lebanon and Jordan. Others have crossed through Turkey to reach Europe.

Younan said he fears the Middle East will ultimately be emptied of Christians if influential nations don't take swift action. Asylum in the United States, he added, is a "last option."

"We don't want to leave," he said.

Myers joined Younan in calling for international action, saying more "can be done and should be done."

Vox Wrote:Yeah. Like maybe mentioning what's going on.

But that will only happen if it'd serve Israel's purpose. I'm sure soon enough we'll be hearing about how Iran is being mean to Christians so we should go bomb them. Iran's on The List.

"We are in solidarity with them," Myers said, adding that Christians from the Middle East would be welcomed by the archdiocese if the U.S. government allows it.

Also present Monday were Yousif Abba, the Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad; and Yousif Habash, bishop of Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese, based in Bayonne.

The Bayonne diocese is the only Syriac Catholic diocese in North America, serving members of the faith throughout the United States and Canada.

Younan served as bishop of the diocese before Pope Benedict XVI chose him to lead the church, granting him the title Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

The Syriac Catholic church had an estimated 159,000 followers in the Middle East, India and North America.

Mark Mueller may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MarkJMueller. Find on Facebook.