For Middle East Christians, UN indifference is deadly
Inaction on the part of the United Nations and international community toward the brutality of ISIS has drawn criticism from a refugee and scholar who says the lives of Christians are at risk..-
Raad Salam Naaman, a Chaldean Catholic and professor of Islamic Studies, sees a “totally deplorable and very strange” attitude on the part of the United Nations and the international community in the face of “the murders and crimes” of the Islamic State.
He told CNA that the international community is acting “as if Middle Eastern Christians mean nothing to them,” despite their sufferings under the violent Islamic radicals.
“They don’t care about the expansion and growth of this group,” said Naaman, who teaches Arabic philology and Islamic Studies at Complutense University of Madrid.
Born near Mosul, the professor has lived as a political refugee in Spain since 1991.
For Naaman, the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, is not a state but a “band of murderers and thieves.”
He charged that the group is “the fruit of the so called ‘Arab Spring,’ one of the many mistakes made by the West.” He said the Arab Spring uprisings “aided these revolts and protests pulled off by Islamic radicals.” Many of the radicals had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and helped overthrow governments run by secular Arab dictators, he argued.
The year 2010 marked the beginning of several popular “Arab Spring” uprisings that has toppled the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Political instability and sometimes violence followed. An uprising against Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad unleashed a civil war now in its fourth year.
There is continued political instability in Iraq, which has worsened since the withdrawal of American troops between 2010 and 2011.
The Islamic State group, especially active in Iraq and Syria, witnessed significant successes in 2014 when it took the major city of Mosul. The group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, then proclaimed an Islamic caliphate in its territory in both countries. The group has imposed a strict version of Islamic law and persecuted Christians, other religious minorities, and Muslims they consider to be apostate. The group has enslaved women, murdered children, and destroyed churches.
It has encouraged radical groups such as the Libyan group Ansar al Sharia to join them. The Libyan group in February released a video of the beheading of 20 Coptic Christians from Egypt and a non-Christian from Chad.
Naaman said the Islamic State group “threatens our Western civilization and is a danger for the future of our human rights, for liberty and democracy which western society was able to attain after centuries of struggle.”
He said that the West should “correct its mistakes” and eliminate “this radical gang of Islamic murderers.”
In that respect, the Iraqi refugee echoes the call of the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who warned that rise of the caliphate in Libya demands “quick intervention.”
However, the cardinal said any military intervention should be “under the auspices of the U.N.”
Naaman said that bombing Islamic State targets will not eliminate them. He said the U.S. and the U.N. need to call for a U.N.-led coalition to attack the group and its followers “on the ground, and with a resolute army.”
“That is the only solution,” he said.
Naaman’s statements came as the Islamic State perpetrated a mass kidnapping of more than 200 Assyrian Christians in northwestern Syria. While at least 19 of the victims were released, it is feared the rest will be executed en masse.