The archbishop of Irbil is concerned “political correctness” in Europe and the U.S. could lead the Western world to become “complicit” in the continued persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
Bashar Warda made the comments during an impassioned speech in London this week, according to BBC News. He described the failure — particularly in the U.K. — to condemn extremism in the face of intense persecution as “a cancer.”
“Will you continue to condone this never-ending, organized persecution against us?” he asked. “When the next wave of violence begins to hit us, will anyone on your campuses hold demonstrations and carry signs that say, ‘We are all Christians?’”
Vice President Mike Pence met with Warda in December 2017 to talk about ways the U.S. can thwart persecution of Christians in the region. And last year, President Donald Trump signed into law a bill to provide humanitarian relief to genocide victims in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS militants have wreaked havoc on Christians, their homes, churches, and businesses.
Warda is not the only one concerned “political correctness” could get in the way of doing what’s right for the minority Christians in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
British bishop Philip Mounstephen, who chairs the Independent Review into the Foreign Office’s response to the persecution of Christians around the world, said he believes Warda “is right” in his concerns.
“A culture of ‘political correctness’ has prevented Western voices from speaking out about the persecution of Christians,” he concurred. “I think, though, this is mainly to do with a reluctance born of post-colonial guilt.”
It hasn’t always been this way
During his speech, Warda also reminisced about an erstwhile era, when Muslims and Christians coexisted peacefully in the Middle East.
There was a time, the archbishop said, when Arab Muslims and Christians shared “a deep tradition of thought and philosophy” and engaged “in respectful dialogue” with one another.
“A style of scholastic dialogue had developed, and which could only occur because a succession of caliphs [Islamic leaders] tolerated minorities,” he explained. “As toleration ended, so did the culture and wealth which flowed from it.”
The future, however, doesn’t look so bright, according to Warda.
“Friends, we may be facing our end in the land of our ancestors,” he warned. “We acknowledge this. In our end, the entire world faces a moment of truth.”
“Will a peaceful and innocent people be allowed to be persecuted and eliminated because of their faith?” he asked. “And, for the sake of not wanting to speak the truth to the persecutors, will the world be complicit in our elimination?”