Monday, August 11, 2014

Archbishop Dawod calls on UK to open country's doors to Iraqi Christians

In an article at published Friday 8 August, 2014, authors Sam Jones and Owen Bowcott cite Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod of the Syriac Orthodox church in the UK as urging the UK government to "open the country's doors to those fleeing the violence" in Iraq, especially for Iraqi Christians, who are being targeted by ISIS terrorists.

"We are dying," he said. "The British government needs to help people and give them asylum. If they stay (there), they will be killed."

According to the article, his pleas were echoed by Patriarch Louis Sako, the Iraq-based leader of the Chaldean Catholic church, who said that about 100,000 Christians had abandoned their villages in the Nineveh plains earlier this week after ISIS launched mortar attacks.

"[It is] an exodus, a real via crucis (lit. 'Way of the the Cross' -- a lengthy and distressing procedure); Christians are walking on foot in Iraq's searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities... They are facing a human catastrophe..." said Sako in a statement to the charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Patriarch Louis Sako
The Iraq-based leader of the Chaldean Catholic church, Patriarch Louis Sako, says Iraqi Christians face a 'human catastrophe'

Save the Children described the speed of the displacement caused by the ISIS advance as unprecedented, adding that thousands of families had entered the Kurdistan region from Qaraqosh in the last 48 hours.

According to the charity, 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced in the past two months since the fighting began, placing the humanitarian relief effort under huge pressure.


Jeremiah wrote of this exodus: "There is a sound of fugitives and refugees from the land of Babylon..." (Jer 50:28).

Jeremiah expressed a plea for the people of God -- certainly Jews explicitly, but by implicit extension Christians -- to "flee from the midst of Babylon" so as to save ones self from the coming destruction. It is good the leaders are calling for asylum for the Iraqi Christians, but Jeremiah had given ample notice as to when it would have been prudent to prepare and leave:

"'Come forth from her midst, My people, and each of you save yourselves from the fierce anger of the LORD. Now, so your heart does not grow faint, and (so) you (do not have to be) afraid at the report that will be heard in the land -- for the report [of the invasion] will come in one year, and after that another report [of invasion] will come in another year, and (after that) violence will be in the land with ruler against ruler -- therefore behold, days are coming when I will punish the idols (false gods) of Babylon, and her whole land will be put to shame and all her slain will fall in her midst... For the destroyers will come to her from the north,' declares the LORD," (Jer 51:45-48).

There was an invasion -- "violence in the land" -- in 1993.  But then the invasion was cut short, and the land allowed to remain unmolested for ten years. Then, in 2003, another invasion, and this one filled the whole land with "foreigners" who would break it and destroy things.

Now it is 2014, over ten years more, and destruction and violence is in the land. If the "people" of God haven't gotten out yet, they may have waited too long. It has been over 20 years since the first "report."

"You who have (barely) escaped the sword, 'DEPART! DO NOT STAY! Remember the LORD from afar..." (Jer 51:50).



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