Statement Regarding the Victims of Mosul, Iraq

We are tremendously saddened and horrified by the ongoing slaughter and victimization of Christians in Mosul, Iraq. The public killing of Christians in arenas and coliseums for spectator entertainment exposed the evils in times past, but now, these persecutions are revisited in the contemporary media before a silent global audience. If these murders and atrocities had been committed toward any other nation or religion, the outrage would be no less sympathetic. Sadly, it seems that the world is becoming more and more desensitized to brutality and massacres in the Middle East, making apathy a viable partner to cruelty.

The destruction of historic monuments, an 1800 year-old ancient church, and even the mosque that sheltered the tomb of the prophet Jonah were devastated. Religious and historic sites of Christians, Jews, and Muslims must be protected and used as tools for educating the world about the rich heritage of people from the Middle East. Destroying these sites will never eliminate their history, but will just add another ugly page of destruction in future chronicles.

What the world is witnessing is not the strength nor weakness of mankind, but the power of hatred that stomps upon all of God’s creation and beauty, whether in nature or upon His people, whom all were created in His own image. Does a great God have need for a slain child of brutal killings on His behalf? These calamities stem from pure diabolic hatred, which goes against every fiber of God’s goodness, mercy, and compassion.

We offer our prayers for peace and justice in this region to come swiftly and comfort the families of the murdered and thrashed victims—mothers, fathers, and innocent children. We also pray that the Lord will enlighten the oppressors who draw swords from the dark abyss of hatred that they may find humane means of resolving feuds and disputes that have lasted for centuries.

May the Lord look down from heaven with His might and compassion and give relief to this suffering nation.

"Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor;defend the fatherless,plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)

Bishop Youssef

Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States