A group of liberal-minded Muslim and Christian Lebanese professionals and academics has written an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing grave concern about the latest persecution of Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul by the “Islamic State.” Here is the text of the letter prepared by the group, which prides itself on embodying the best thatLebanon has produced by way of peaceful pluralistic coexistence and mutual respect among the 18 religious denominations recognized in the Lebanese Constitution.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
We are a group of Muslim, Christian and Druze professionals and academics from Lebanon who are old schoolmates and lifelong friends, some of us since early elementary grades. In all modesty, we constitute a representative sample of the finest that Lebanon’s peaceful pluralist coexistence among various religious sects has produced over the years despite what turmoil the country has been through in recent decades.
We have taken the liberty to write you this letter because of our deep alarm at what is happening to the Christians of Mosul in Iraq, and generally to the native Christian and other minority communities throughout the Middle East. In particular, these beleaguered ancient Christian communities of our region are struggling hard as they face mounting pressures and challenges from the same violent and intolerant fanatics. Confronted with forced conversions, or a humiliating life of collective submission, or the sword, Mosul’s Christians have naturally opted to leave just as other Christians in neighboring hotspots have done before them. This time round, however, it is unconscionable that the international community would stand idly by and allow the wholesale destruction of rooted communities solely because of their religious beliefs. The United States in particular bears an important burden in this regard since its actions in Iraq beginning with the 2003 invasion that rid the world of a brutal dictator unintentionally hastened the demise of a good portion of that country’s Christian community. Religious cleansing was not tolerated in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, and it should not be accepted in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East in 2014.