Bishop Thomas Paprocki: Confronting the genocide of Christians in the Middle East

In the Sept. 29 State Journal-Register, correspondent Steven Spearie wrote an article following an interview with me about the situation in the Middle East.

I was led to believe that he was interested in writing about the plight of Christians and other religious minorities who are being slaughtered or forced to flee their homes in the Middle East by the terrorist militants known as the Islamic State.

Instead, the focus was how I have supposedly “infuriated some area groups, including the local Muslim community” by remarks I made about the genocide being perpetrated by extremists executing their violence in the name of Islam.

Calling on Muslims to more forcefully denounce the Islamic State is not meant to be a criticism of local Muslims. Some Muslim leaders have spoken out against the Islamic State, but their statements have not received widespread media coverage or their statements have been ambiguous.

For example, on Sept. 24, more than 120 Muslim scholars worldwide joined an open letter to the “fighters and followers of the Islamic State” that relies heavily on the Qur’an and various “trustworthy” sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as classical Sunni writings and interpretations. It attempts to rebut the ideology of ISIS with key Islamic texts that ISIS itself has cited.

Commenting on this letter, Ayman S. Ibrahim, a post-doctoral fellow of middle-eastern history, noted in the Oct. 3 journal First Things that there is “no reference or mention at all of ‘terrorism’ or ‘terrorists’ in the entire document.”

Moreover, the Muslim scholars’ letter reads: “The word ‘jihad’ is an Islamic term that cannot be applied to armed conflict against any other Muslim.”

This leaves an ambiguity about whether jihad can be used against non-Muslims…

(Photo: Church bombing in Baghdad, Christmas, 2013)

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