Letter to National Security Advisor Jones Regarding Attacks on Iraqi Christians, March 1, 2010
March 1, 2010
General James L. Jones, USMC (Ret.)
National Security Advisor
National Security Council
Dear General Jones:
Attacks against Christians in Mosul have escalated, resulting in eight deaths within ten days. These attacks have caused panic among a population already feeling under siege. Hundreds of Christian families fled Mosul on February 25 in search of security and shelter, many heading toward the plain of Nineveh. Archbishop Louis Sako, Archbishop of Kirkuk, has called for an end to the “massacre of Iraqi Christians” while the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Bishop Emil Shimoun Nona, has launched an appeal for humanitarian emergency relief supplies to help those who abandoned everything to flee to safety. Pope Benedict XVI, after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2008, had called for dialogue and cooperation among different ethnic and religious groups to rebuild Iraq, and asked for the protection of Christians and their churches. The Holy Father expressed “deep sorrow” over the news of fresh violence against Christians in Mosul.
As Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I also want to express our deep concern for the upsurge in violence in Iraq, particularly as it affects Christians and other minorities. While we abhor all attacks against innocent Iraqi civilians which have led to massive internal displacement, a disproportionate number of those affected have been Christians. The suffering they have experienced is ongoing with surges in violence such as when the previous Archbishop of Mosul was kidnapped and found dead in March 2008. Again in October 2008, quite a number of Christians were killed. Perhaps the current escalation in violence is related to the upcoming March 7 elections as factions vie for power.
We ask that the U.S. government convey to the Iraqi government its strong concern for the need to provide security for all Iraqis and to protect the human dignity of all minorities, especially Christians.
Most Reverend Howard J. Hubbard
Bishop of Albany
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace