An Iraqi bishop has criticized the nations of the world for not working together to help suffering Iraqi Christians, and said that only education can defeat the Islamic State terror group.
"Our people are suffering too much," said Bishop Mar Schlemon Warduni of the Chaldean Christians in an interview with East County magazine.
"Nobody loves them, nobody takes care of them. The children, the young people, they have no future. They finish studying and they have no job. Always, we cry, all over the world, for those children."
Warduni, who has been serving as interim Bishop and apostolic administrator of St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese since May, said he has worked on over 20 projects serving Christians, youths, and senior citizens in Iraq, but said the ongoing IS offensive is making it a challenge to keep the Chaldean culture alive.
"All over the world, people are selling arms [to IS]," the bishop said. "One of the biggest problems in the world is that many nations are not cooperating. ... They have many interests and also, the weakness of men who want only material things, they don't care about God who sent his son to save us."
He shared his hopes, however, that peace in the Middle East will some day be possible, as long as people think of God.
"He created us from peace and if you have love, there is no war. The thought of peace in Christianity is always sacrifice for those who love Him [Christ]," he said.
The Iraqi Christian population has shrunken dramatically over the last decade and a half, with the 1.4 million population back in 2003 now down to somewhere between 50,000 to 250,000, according to Minority Rights Group
"The impact on minorities has been catastrophic. Saddam [Hussein] was terrible; the situation since is worse. Tens of thousands of minorities have been killed and millions have fled for their lives," Mark Lattimer, head of Minority Rights Group, said earlier this month.
Iraqi Christians, like other minorities, have been forced by IS to make the decision between converting to Islam, paying a high living tax to the terror group, or abandoning their ancestral homes, which has led to many of them being enslaved or killed.
Warduni suggested that it is education that can defeat IS.
"Wherever there is education, it must be done in this direction. Do for your neighbor whatever you want done for you. Hate is a terrible thing that can do evil, because there is no mercy," he said.
The bishop added, "sometimes when we are in difficulties, we feel desperation."
"We are all sons and daughters of hope. Our Lord tells us: I am with you until the end of the war."