The world’s press services are reporting on the death of the kidnapped Catholic Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul. The murder of the Archbishop by religious extremists is truly indicative of the need for escalated religious, political and diplomatic actions between all faiths, sects and allegiances of this troubled area of the world. It appears there is a marked rise of anti-Catholic insurgency in the Islamic dominated countries of the Middle East. The execution of a Catholic Archbishop is not an action that is justified in any sense of religious or theological rights by religious extremists.

The Iraqi terrorists responsible for this act have magnified the world’s focus on the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism. Any group that advocates and justifies violence against any Christian or non-Christian groups should not hold the Iraqi people and the global community hostage. Such murderous activity clearly indicates wrong theological principles of Islam are being fostered, and the call for Islamic jihad is loudly heard. The Archbishop of Mosul’s death indicates the clear and obvious dangers that are present in the Middle East for Catholic believers. However, Christianity does not base its evangelical and theological premises on the execution of innocent believers of any religious denomination. Murder and terrorism are not acceptable methods of religious expression and this crime is a heinous and serious obstacle to interreligious dialogue and peaceful understanding.

Religious freedom includes the rights of free religious expression. The Iraqi followers of Islam need immediately to realize the perpetual circle of death and violence this religious extremism continues to bring to Iraq and the entire world. Religious leaders of all faiths need to search for the theological factors that lead us together as faithful global citizens. Terrorism and catechesis through violence is not the peaceful harmony required by the Koran, the Old Testament or the Gospels. As believers in the same God of Abraham, of Mohammed and Jesus every effort needs to be made to stop this religious animosity in the most ancient land of Christian and Islamic beliefs.

As a Catholic Church we are saddened by the torturous death inflicted on the Archbishop of Mosul in the name of religious justice. We pray, united in our faith and determination that God will bring about peace to this tragically violent area of the world. As a peaceful people of faith, we also pray that our Islamic cousins will realize that murder and violence are not paths towards social and religious harmony. Such actions only continue to destroy God’s plan for peaceful harmony between all faiths and peoples.

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author that writes on Catholic issues. He writes daily @ http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com

Comments welcome @ hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

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