Christian minorities 'abandoned and betrayed' by West, says Syriac Catholic leader

Western countries have not only abandoned but also betrayed persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East, according to Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan.

(REUTERS / Omar Sanadiki)An Assyrian woman attends a mass in solidarity with the Assyrians abducted by Islamic State fighters in Syria earlier this week, inside Ibrahim al-Khalil church in Jaramana, eastern Damascus March 1, 2015.

In an interview with The Southern Cross held at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Syriac Catholic Parish in El Cajon, Younan slammed the West for allegedly not doing enough to protect Christian minorities in Iraq and Syria. He highlighted the importance of preserving Christianity in the Middle East, as the region is the cradle of this faith, Catholic Philly relayed.

"I can tell you, we've been not only abandoned by the Western countries, but even we have been betrayed," Patriarch Younan told the Southern Cross.

The Syriac Catholic patriarch said Christian minorities are a peaceful community who are not rich in oil nor pose any threat to Western nations. He described the exodus of Christians from the Middle East as a tragedy, saying these people do now want any special privileges but only to be able to freely practice their faith without fear.

Patriarch Younan said Western leaders have chosen to be politically correct when dealing with issues in the Middle East. He said Christians in the region will have no hope unless the U.S and other European countries stop pandering and start speaking honestly with their Mideast counterparts.

Meanwhile, a Hungarian official who heads a new department for persecuted Christians told the National Catholic Register exclusively that they have a duty to help believers who are suffering because of their faith.

Tamás Török said their responsibility does not only include charitable works, but also a concern for the future of their values and identity.

In line with the concern that Török mentioned, Hungary approved a 1 million-euro pledge for humanitarian activities. The Hungarian government also promised to help finance the rebuilding of the Iraqi city of Telsqof.