Bishop John McAreavey has described as “outrageous” the failure of Irish politicians to condemn the persecution of Christians on an equal footing with other groups in the Middle East.
On December 9, notice was given by the Oireachtas of a proposed
amendment to a Dáil motion which seeks to have all parties in the
chamber condemn the brutal activities of so-called-Islamic State (ISIS)
against the Yazidi minority community in Iraq.
In its original format, there is no mention of Christians under
persecution in the same country by ISIS. An amended motion does add that
the Dáil “notes” that Christians and other religious minorities “in
Iraq and Syria will be exterminated or forced to migrate solely for
their religion by the ‘Islamic State’.
It goes on to note that “Christians, Yazidi and other religious
minorities in Iraq and Syria have been murdered, subjugated, and
suffered grievous bodily and psychological harm, including sexual
enslavement and abuse, inflicted in a deliberate and calculated manner.”
Reacting to the amendment, Bishop McAreavey told The Irish Catholic
it would be “disappointing if Dáil Eireann could only ‘note’ what
happens to Christians in Syria and Iraq rather than raise its voice in
solidarity, protest or even sorrow at the systematic suffering and
breach of human rights of Christians in the Middle East and other
Describing the scope of the motion as “narrow and very weak”, Bishop
McAreavey added: “We don’t look for privilege for Christians, we just
ask western governments to express solidarity with Christian communities
all across the world that are subjected to persecution and
discrimination at so many different levels. It is outrageous that the
Dáil cannot raise its voice on this.”
Tellingly in the latest version of the Dáil motion, the document
“notes that the British Parliament and the European Parliament have
passed motions recognising that ISIS have committed genocide against the
Yazidis”, but fails to add that in both cases, Christians were also
included and on an equal footing with the Yazidi community.
Similarly, the US Congress in March included Christians alongside Yazidis as suffering genocide at the hands of ISIS.
Where the Dáil motion mentions genocide, it is only to ‘note’ that
“genocide is a crime under international law that shall be punished,
whether committed by ‘constitutionally responsible rulers, public
officials or private individuals’ as provided by the UN Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”.