ISIS ideology is yet to be defeated, Christian clerics say

ISIS ideology is yet to be defeated, Christian clerics say

Shafaq News/ Ten years after ISIS displaced Christians from their ancestral villages in Iraq's Nineveh Plain, the community cautiously rebuilds, but bishops warn the jihadists' ideology persists.

While the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is no longer a military force, its extremist ideology that drove the persecution of Christians and other minorities remains a threat, two Catholic bishops from Iraq told Aleteia.

They also voiced concerns about regional conflicts, fearing Christians could again be targeted or suffer collateral damage.

Many Christians who fled Iraq as refugees have only returned after securing a way out, such as dual citizenship or permanent residency elsewhere.

Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, credits Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for its support during the crisis.

"You were and still are the voice for the persecuted Christians around the world," Warda told ACN's executive president.

"You stood by us as brothers and sisters and shared the hardship by your physical presence here in Erbil, right from the first day of... the genocide that happened to the Christians."

The bishops stressed education as key to defeating ISIS ideology and promoting peaceful coexistence.

"We have to concentrate on the education system, not just with the Christian schools, but everywhere," said Archbishop Nathanael Nizar Wadih Semaan, the Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Hadiab-Erbil.

"And we have to put pressure on the Iraqi government to have a moderate education system which allows our people to grow in a peaceful atmosphere and respect for other people."

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