By Mick Krever, CNN
Likening ISIS’s rampage to the Devil, the Pope’s envoy to Iraq on Monday made the careful case for taking on ISIS in the name of protecting civilians.
“No one can use the name, or in the name of God to do something like this,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, referring to ISIS’s very public beheadings. “These are really Devil things.”
“I don’t say war. I wanted to say defending people who are in need. And this was asked by people there.”
The Pope has been particularly outspoken on ISIS, saying that the group must be stopped, though not necessarily by bombing and traditional warfare.
“The Holy Father many times spoke about no war,” Cardinal Filoni said. “But we are not talking now about war; we are talking about something different.”
“Somebody – a group of terrorists, which are well-equipped, with money, with people, with ideological minds – they attacked people who no one of them had any arms to defend themselves; no equipment, just very simple poor farmers, families, people living in the villages their lives, peaceful people.”
“It is our first duty for human rights reasons, for the sake of humanity, that these people must be defended, must be helped.”
Cardinal Filoni, who spent extensive time in Iraq during the American-led war and is just back from visiting Kurdistan, said the world has a “moral duty” to be engaged.
“We are part of these people, they are part of our humanity, they are Christians, they are Yazidis, they are the minorities, no matter – all of them they need our support.”
Kurdish leaders told him, he recalled, that they need only equipment – not people on the ground – to defend themselves.
“Of course we know that the first duty belongs to the Iraqi government to defend them. But if they are not in this position, they cannot defend themselves, someone else has to take also this duty, at least until the local government is ready to retake its duty.”
Many people told him that if only there were “international security,” they would return to their villages.
“I met three young boys who were running from their villages in Sinjar province, and they told me we are the only three saved who escaped from our villages. And all the ladies, young or middle aged ladies, disappear.”
“Can we sitting down and waiting for, for what? If those ladies were my sister, my mother, my wife, my children, can I react just turning my side to another side? This is my question.”