ISIS incites Muslims to betray Christian neighbors, says bishop

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) destroys trusts between neighbors by inciting the Muslims to betray the Christians, according to Detroit-based Bishop Francis Kalabat of the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.

(Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)People wait to be allowed to see their relatives who had fled from Mosul, outside the fence of Khazer refugee camp, Iraq. November 11, 2016.

On Nov. 17, Bishop Kalabat spoke at the Catholic University of America and relayed the systematic persecution of Middle East Christians. The bishop, who visited Iraq in September, noted that some of the Christians there were given 24 hours to leave or die, and described how ISIS destroyed the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Iraq, the National Catholic Reporter details.

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"They not only destroyed buildings, but they destroyed relations between neighbors," said Bishop Kalabat. "Many (Iraqi Muslims intimidated by Islamic State) turned in their Christian neighbors and that has built up a lot of mistrust."

In light of the genocide that ISIS committed against Christians in the Middle East, Bishop Kalabat proposed setting up courts and organizing programs to deal with all kinds of trauma the victims face. He urged the public to take action to preserve Chaldean Catholics' history as it is currently being destroyed.

"They (Iraqi Catholics) are survivors, but is it enough just to be in survival mode all the time?" Bishop Kalabat added. "Don't you want to live? Don't you want to thrive? Don't you want to be able to give?"

Meanwhile, some of the Iraqi residents are trying to rebuild what ISIS has destroyed. In the town of Bashiqa, residents and Kurdish militia fighters replaced the cross atop the Saint George's church after their town was liberated, RT reports.

A few days prior, Rev. Afram al-Khoury Benyamen joined other returning priests in cleaning up left by the fleeing ISIS militants. The new cross on top of Saint George's church is a lot plainer compared with the ornate one that the jihadists destroyed, but the Iraqi Christians did not mind that as they participated in the group prayer and a solemn ceremony to reinstall the church cross.

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