|Islamic Conquests as they stood c. 732 (Eastern Roman Empire in magenta)|
An exclusive Rorate translation:
THE CALIPHATE AND REFUGEES
Let’s take a look at what’s behind the influx of refugees and immigrants arriving by sea, and the vast number of youth and entire families from Africa and the Orient that have come into Europe across the “mare nostrum” [the Mediterranean Sea*] in the space of one year. The number is about 150,000, by the end of the year it will be almost 200,000.
It is certain that we will see not one, but a complete series of dramatic conflicts, political problems and social tensions. This is the reason we are talking now about a third world war in progress. As well as the immediate response to the emergency, the most important thing [to do] is to look further than the sea. Which means also looking – by reflex – at our own home: not only in political spheres, not only in business affairs, but also inside our own hearts. Is there fatalism or resignation there? What is happening to me?
So, let’s look then at distinguishing first of all the refugees – those in search of asylum – and the immigrants – those in search of work.
The wars the refugees are escaping from are not natural phenomena. Who is causing them? For what reasons? Who precisely are the contenders? We must be informed and be informed by the ones who know. Also this diocesan weekly is called to play a part here.
Some dramatic warnings were launched at the end of the terrible month of August by Syrian and Iraqi bishops at the Meeting in Rimini. The proposal to have another day of prayer for Syria and the Middle East on Sunday September 7 was launched, repeating the one of a year ago at Pope Francis’ invitation. We note that in the meantime the conflict has extended and has aggravated, even if politicians have become more circumspect, by recognizing some of their grave errors. The number of victims however is rising; the persecution of Christians has spread to other religious minorities and the cruelty and arrogance of the armed bands have reached levels of bestial paroxysm. Faced with the armed actions of ISIS, the people are appealing to Governments and International Authorities.
It is my view that we must be demanding of them, like the courageous mothers of the Russian soldiers.
Politicians, you have the duty to protect and defend - not supremacy, but the lives and the freedom of the people, otherwise you will pay dearly for every silence and every act of cowardice. And we the citizens must stop blaming foreigners en bloc. Rather we are asking the Muslims who live among us to show that they are honourable men, and publicly condemn these persecutions and acts of cruelty. Otherwise they ought to have the courage to leave our country, because nobody wants to have enemies in their own home. We know that they are intimidated by fundamentalists, but the time has come to break the vicious cycle of abuse.
The situation is grave, so let’s all get started without hesitation, going beyond either do-goodism or intolerance.
Bp. Tommaso Ghirelli, Bishop of Imola
[Source: Diocesan paper; Translation: contributor Francesca Romana/ *also the name of the rescue operation of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italian Navy.]