Symposium on Christians victimized by genocide
With participation from Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Montreal, April 19 2016 – “ We estimate from our point of view that Christians in Syria and in Iraq are suffering a slow, but certain, genocide,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde the national director of the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) who will take part in a panel this weekend at the invitation of the organization ‘Solidarité International Trinitaire’.
Also on the panel, Sami Aoun, a geopolitical specialist and Msgr Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Greek Catholic Melkite Archbishop of Syria and Aleppo. The panel will be led by journalist, Pierre Maisonneuve. The theme tabled for discussion: “Are Christians in the world victims of genocide?”
The panel, which will take place Saturday April 23 at 9am, will officially open the Symposium of the same name which will be held from the 22 to the 24th at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal, 2065 Sherbrooke West.
“The question is a broad,” considers the director who has held the position for 15 years. “When we speak of genocide, we must be extremely cautious as to the type of situation we wish to qualify. If we are talking about what is happening in Iraq or in Syria, it is clear the Islamic State (IS) is doing everything to eliminate the presence of Christians and other religious minorities.”
Canada: Still in waiting
“When speaking about genocide, we always refer back to the definition given by international law,” says the director. “In other words: as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.“ The Islamic State (IS) is guilty of genocide, according to the European Parliament and the American Secretary of State.
Now, the question remains: When will there be acknowledgement on the part of the Government of Canada?”
This past February, Mrs. Lalonde sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion, asking that the Canadian government recognize that what is happening in Syria and in Iraq is a genocide against Christians and other religious minorities.
Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity, has been working for over 60 years to bring awareness to the world of the fate of persecuted Christians and the situation of religious freedom throughout the world. Every two years, a report called Persecuted and Forgotten? Addresses the situation of Christians throughout the world – whereas, also published every two years, the report on Religious Freedom in the world encompasses all religious traditions.
The Symposium: “Are Christians in the world victims of genocide?” will be held from Friday April 22 beginning at 4pm, through to Sunday April 24 at noon. Simultaneous translations will be offered and voluntary contributions will be gratefully accepted. The Grand Séminaire of Montreal is located at: 2065 Sherbrooke Street west, near Guy-Concordia Métro.
By Mario Bard, ACN Canada
Translated and adapted by, Amanda Bridget Griffin