Lebanese intellectuals call on
Ban to take action on Iraq Christians

BEIRUT – A cross-sectarian group of Lebanese academics and professionals addressed a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, calling on him to spearhead an international effort to protect minority rights in the Middle East amid jihadist advances in Iraq.


“We have taken the liberty to write you this letter because of our deep alarm at what is happening to the Christians of Mosul in Iraq, and generally to the native Christian and other minority communities throughout the Middle East,” the group of Druze, Christian, and Muslim intellectuals said.


In recent weeks jihadist Islamic State fighters in Iraq have pressed a military campaign that has seen them overrun Christian-populated areas, where the jihadists forced the expulsion of Christian minorities under threat of death.


The open letter to Ban demanded the UN chief to “make good on the calls we are hearing to bring those who have viciously emptied Mosul of its Christians before the International Criminal Court to face justice.”


“The most effective way to combat outrageous abuses of human rights and human dignity such as what we are witnessing today in Mosul against its Christians is to shine the unrelenting international spotlight of publicity on these grave transgressions,” the writers emphasized.


The letter also recommended implementing a long-term plan to “bolster and promote Islamic moderation across the board so that credible and authoritative Muslim voices everywhere can openly condemn, and dissociate themselves from, these types of abuses committed under the cloak of their religion.”


Amid reports of Islamic State fighters’ financial resources following their campaign in northern Iraq, the writers recommended “drying up the sources that fund this sort of violent takfirism” depends on.


The open letter further called on the United Nations to supervise the creating of a reserve fund “with the help of individuals, organizations and governments of good will to address the urgent humanitarian and other needs of victimized persons and groups in the event that prevention does not work and persecution persists.”


Finally, the Lebanese academics and professionals exhorted the international community to “protect from further erosion those few remaining oases in the Arab world such as Lebanon where freedom endures.”


“The line of steady collapse must be held firm at the boundaries of these oases, and this can best be done by strengthening and supporting those elements and institutions in these oases that are living embodiments of this precious freedom,” they added.


The open letter was penned by:


Kamal F. Badr, Medical Doctor


Amer El-Hage, Consulting Engineer


Mohamad Rustom Halwani, Civil Engineering Consultant


Atef Wafic Idriss, Food Scientist and Consultant


Anthony Iliya, Investment Banker


Hania Kabban, English as Foreign Language Teacher


Jamil I. Kawa, Engineer & Scientist


Richard K. Khuri, Professor of Philosophy


Habib C. Malik, Professor of History


Robert Moughanie, Businessman


Amal Zaroubi Moujaes, Businesswoman


Sami Moujaes, Businessman