ANTELIAS–Reacting to the recent series of coordinated explosions that rocked five churches across Baghdad and Mosul on Sunday–including an Armenian Apostolic Church–His Holiness Aram I released a statement condemning violence as a means to solve problems–and emphasized solidarity–dialogue–and mutual tolerance.
"Violence in all its forms and expressions is against human and religious values and principles. Neither Islam nor Christianity will accept violence as a way to solve problems. Bombing of Christian churches in Iraq is a deep harm against the Christian-Muslim existence. Both Christians and Muslims with their equal obligations and rights are co-citizens of the Arab countries. It is my firm expectation that the government of Iraq will take the necessary measures to protect the rights and the well being of all citizens. It is also my expectation that Christians and Muslims in Iraq and in different parts of the Middle East will continue their dialogue and collaboration based on shared values and aspirations–and strengthen their commitment to peace with justice," stated His Holiness.
Recalling the centuries-long co-existence of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East–His Holiness emphasized that close affinities in various societal sectors have emerged as a result of interaction and dialogue. "The Christian-Muslim co-existence is neither a conceptual notion nor an imposed reality; it is an integral and inseparable part of the societies in the Middle East," he concluded.