A video that shares the testimonies of people who have personally suffered the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is calling on their fellow Christians in the West to “wake up” to the grave crisis facing their brethren.
The most important thing that Christians can do for their brethen in Iraq and Syria is to build a courageously Christians society in their own countries, an exiled Iraqi bishop says in his interview.
The two objectives of the short video are to “help people become more aware of the persecution that is taking place in the East” and to “encourage Christians to begin to live a more profound faith with courage,” Sr. Megan María Conway, SHM, told CNA.
The video, “Wake Up!” is produced by the EUK Mamie Foundation, a new evangelization effort of the Home of the Mother, an international public association of the faithful which was approved by the Vatican in 2010.
One of the testimonies is from Father Douglas Bazi, an Iraqi priest who in 2006 was kidnapped and tortured by Muslim extremists. He is currently rector of the St. Elijah parish and refugee camp in Erbil, where tens of thousands of residents of Mosul fled after it was captured by the Islamic State in June 2014.
“First of all, I ask you to wake up,” Fr. Bazi says to the video's viewers. “If you are going to just be silent, it is the same thing as agreeing with those who are persecuting us. So don't be silent. If you can, don’t just watch. Take action. And — wake up.”
Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona of the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Sydney — and who was the Chaldean bishop of Mosul until January 2015 — stated that “the whole Western world is in danger, because many suicide bombers, many militants, Islamic State militants, have come to us from Europe, America, and Australia.”
An Argentine religious priest who serves at the Baghdad cathedral, Fr. Luis Montes, said that the Islamic State “has reached this level of madness, this craziness, because (they’ve) let hatred enter into their hearts.”
The video also presents the testimony of Miereille Al Farah, a Syrian Catholic woman who works as a marketing director in Damascus. She comments that “there is a certain rejection of what we are, I don’t like to say it, but a certain hatred...We were born Christians, but we’ve also chosen this faith and it’s the only true Way, as Jesus says: 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life'.”
Nevertheless, Fr. Montes said, “the Christians in Iraq are an incredible example of forgiveness. People who forgive, who forgive with all their hearts.”
“We have to fight against this hatred by doing good. With the charity that Jesus taught us, that led him to give his life for us, the same charity that inspires these martyrs,” the priest adds.
“We have martyrs, I don’t like to say this, but if we’re going to have more martyrs than the people who have faith in Europe, I think we have a problem,” Fr. Bazi then warns.
Archbishop Nona says that “you can help us by building a more active and courageous Christian society, which is active, brave. You have to evangelize your society again with courage, without any fear of saying, 'we’re Christians'. This is the help you can give us.”