Stop the sale of arms!
While travelling through Canada recently, Father Jacques Mourad, a monk from the Mar Mousa Community in Syria, spoke with Aid to the Church in Need. During a brief telephone interview given before leaving for Europe, the priest – once kidnapped by the ISIS (Islamic State) and held from May to October 2015 – asks Canadians to reflect on the impact of the sale of arms, especially those in the Gulf region, which according to him, find their way into the hands of fighters in Syria.
ACN: What would you say to the people of Canada about the war in Syria?
Father Jacques Mourad: “For my first point: I wish to thank and convey my thanks from the people of Syria – especially the Christians of Syria – to the Canadian people who opened their hearts and their country.
But, I also say however that importing the Syrian people is not a good solution.
Secondly, what we hope for from the democratic countries such as Canada – who [though] are unable to stop this war – will continue to welcome the refugees, and in so-doing save their lives. Especially [those who are found] in areas where they are in danger (such as in Aleppo among other places). But, I also say however that importing the Syrian people is not a good solution.
Is it possible to bring the entire country over, for everyone in Syria is in danger! Therefore, the effort [needed] from a country with a good heart and who possesses its freedom [like your own] is to do all that is required to raise awareness [about the consequences of war] and convince the government to do everything in its power to stop the sale of arms.
For it is with these arms – like those Canada is producing and which are sold in the Gulf countries – it is with these arms, which land in the hands of all those who are fighting – that the Syrian people are killed. We have no idea of the death toll, the misery, etc. The fact that this country continues to produce and sell arms – makes it in part responsible for the war in Syria.
Canadians are invited and called [its government] to reflect and to take into consideration that we are aware of what is happening, that we are wounded and that we are suffering.”
Father Mourad calls on all Canadians to pray for the Syria people and for peace to come.
Father Mourad calls on all Canadians to pray for the Syria people and for peace to come. Since the beginnings of the war in March 2011, Aid to the Church in Need has supported the Syrian people by means of emergency projects developed by the local Churches in Syria. Whether the need required providing support for lodging for the elderly and sick who cannot leave the country – or for the distribution of diapers, food, and warm clothing for those in need – the pontifical charity has provided support in the amount of approximately 19 million dollars.
The projects continue to develop. Along with the renewal of the project for milk and diapers to help families, the organization is supporting elderly priests and religious Sisters who are living on the edge of exhaustion with Mass Offerings. Finally, 600 families will receive help to pay for heating this winter, as the cost of mazut remains prohibitive.
Interview and text by Mario Bard, Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin