(JNS.org) The Vatican has called on Muslim leaders to “unequivocally condemn” the violence being carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq.
In a rare break from diplomatic protocol, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue called on Muslim leaders to “exercise their influence with the authorities to end these crimes, to punish those who commit them and to reestablish the rule of law throughout the land, ensuring the return home of those who have been displaced,” Vatican Radio reported.
The council listed some of the atrocities being committed against Christians and Yazidis including, “the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places” as well as the forced expulsions, conversions and desecration of Christians and their holy sites.
Calling the violence against Christians and Yazidis a “shame on humanity” and a “offense to God” the Vatican hinted that it may break off interfaith relations with Muslim leaders if nothing is done.
“What credibility can the interreligious dialogue that we have patiently pursued over recent years have?” the statement said.
Last week Pope Francis issued a special statement appealing for the safety of Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities.
"The Holy Father is following with deep concern the dramatic news reports coming from northern Iraq, which involve defenseless populations. Christian communities are particularly affected: a people fleeing from their villages because of the violence that rages in these days, wreaking havoc on the entire region,” Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, Vatican Radio reported.