From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2014
Since we begun this debate on Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) rebels’ war in Iraq many of our readers have been touched. Many questions and clarifications keep on coming in. Cynthia from Siaya County for example, would like to know why ISIS rebels are only targeting Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.
Bob from Car Wash, Kisumu City would like to know the number of Catholics and dioceses in Iraq and why Yazidis are the mostly targeted group. These are good concerns and it demonstrates how people can be in solidarity when conflicts arise.
Dolores from Kibera writes: “Hello friends, when you read this News Dispatch and see the atrocities committed, let us raise our hearts on a daily rosary crusade, either as an individual or a group for the christians in Iraq and Syria. Raise your rosary towards heaven when starting and say; “With this rosary, I bind all sinners and all nations to the Immaculate heart of Mary- Happy rosary day”.
The reason why ISIS rebels are threatening, attacking, and murdering Yazidis, Christians, and Shi’a Muslims is because their religious ideals do not conform to theirs. The rebels are particularly against Yazidis belief that God governs the world through seven angels.
There are no official statistics on their numbers in Iraq but Yazidis say their population in Iraq alone exceeds 560,000. Yazidis have throughout history confronted several challenges including the fact that areas in which they inhabit lie within the “disputed lands” between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdistan government.
Muslims are split into two main branches, the Sunnis and Shias. The split originates in a dispute soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad over who should lead the Muslim community. The great majority of Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85 and 90 percent.
Sunni Muslims regard themselves as the orthodox and traditionalist branch of Islam. The word Sunni comes from “Ahl al-Sunna”, the people of the tradition. The tradition in this case refers to practices based on precedent or reports of the actions of the Prophet Muhammad and those close to him. Sunnis venerate all the prophets mentioned in the Koran, but particularly Muhammad as the final prophet. All subsequent Muslim leaders are seen as temporal figures.
Meanwhile, the Shia claimed the right of Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and his descendants to lead the Islamic community. Ali was killed as a result of intrigues, violence and civil wars which marred his caliphate.
His sons, Hassan and Hussein, were denied what they thought was their legitimate right of accession to caliphate. Hassan is believed to have been poisoned by Muawiyah, the first caliph (leader of Muslims) of the Umayyad dynasty.
His brother, Hussein, was killed on the battlefield along with members of his family, after being invited by supporters to Kufa (the seat of caliphate of Ali) where they promised to swear allegiance to him. These events gave rise to the Shia concept of martyrdom and the rituals of grieving.
Estimates of the number of Shia range from 120 to 170 million, roughly one-tenth of all Muslims. They are in the majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and, according to some estimates, Yemen. There are large Shia communities in Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In countries that have been governed by Sunnis, Shias tend to make up the poorest sections of society. They often see themselves as victims of discrimination and oppression. Some extremist Sunni doctrines have preached hatred of Shias.
Kurds are an Indo-European people of the Iranian branch. Ethnically and linguistically they are most closely related to Iranians and have existed in Iraq since before the Arab-Islamic conquest. They are possibly descended from the ancient Corduene.
The majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims, with Shia and Alevi Muslim minorities. There are also a significant number of adherents to native Kurdish/Iranian religions such
There are over 300,000 Catholics living in Iraq, just 0.95 percent of the total population. There is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baghdad. It has jurisdiction over three parishes of 2,500 Latin Rite Catholics who live throughout Iraq.
The diocese is immediately subject to the Holy See and operates alongside eleven Chaldean dioceses, two Syrian Catholic, one Greek-Melkite, and one Armenian Catholic diocese. The Archdiocese’s cathedral is the Cathedral of St. Joseph, located in Baghdad, Iraq, not to be confused with the Cathedral of St. Joseph located in Ankawa, Iraq. The ordinary is Bishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, O.C.D.
The Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Mosul is an Eastern autonomous Catholic, located in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Its followers are ethnic Assyrians and speakers of Aramaic. The territory is subdivided in 12 parishes. The diocese of Mosul was elevated to Archeparchy of Mosul on February 14, 1967 by Pope Paul VI.
The ordinary was Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho until his death in early 2008. He was succeeded in November 2009 by Archbishop-elect Emi Shimoun Nona, who until his election and ratification had been a professor of anthropology at Babel College and a pastor and vicar general in the eparchy of Alqosh. As of 2012 the Papal Nuncio was Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, whose Apostolic Nunciature is the entire state of Iraq.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578