Growing concerns over the escalating attacks against Christians by the Islamic militant group ISIS has prompted Pope Francis to invite envoys from several Middle Eastern countries to meet with him at the Vatican. The New York Daily News has learned that ambassadors from the countries of Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and representatives of Palestine have been asked to the meeting with the Pope.
According to Tuesday’s Vatican announcement, the summit will take place this Thursday, October 2, and last through Saturday, October 4. Joining these Middle Eastern officials will be representatives from the United Nations and the European Union, who were also invited to the talks. The meeting will be held with the Pope and 12 other Vatican officials, including the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Cardinal Parolin addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Monday and expressed Pope Francis’ worries about ISIS. In the speech on Monday, Lebanon’s The Daily Star reported that the Vatican has suggested “multilateral action and a proportionate use of force” be used to stop the terrorist group. Pope Francis had previously sent a letter to the Secretary General at the U.N. last August, making an “urgent appeal” to the international community to protect unarmed civilians from ISIS in places like northern Iraq and Syria.
The Pope will briefly address the gathering at the Vatican on Thursday when the summit begins. Pope Francis is expected to iterate his stance that ISIS does not represent “the armor of God” because of their violent, oppressive tactics.
The Inquisitr reported that the Pope harshly criticized the militants during a visit last month to Albania, a country whose predominant religion is Muslim. Although he didn’t single them out by name, the recent actions by ISIS left no doubt to whom Pope Francis was referring.
Another subject sure to be addressed at the Pope’s summit is the ISIS consulate that has been opened in Turkey. Many people are claiming that the consulate is being used to recruit members to the terrorist group. The new recruits are then issued visas so they can join ISIS’ jihad in Iraq.
Pope Francis’ outspokenness may have made the Pope a target of the Islamic militants, according to Il Tempo, an Italian newspaper. According to a local CBS station in Washington, DC, sources from Israel told the newspaper that Pope Francis in “the crosshairs of ISIS” because he is considered by them to be the greatest advocate for Christianity in the world.
Despite the threats, the Vatican seems unconcerned about the threats toward the Pope. They consider the threats baseless and of no special concern to the Vatican, but government officials in Italy have issued a terrorism alert due to the newspaper report. Despite the Vatican’s nonchalance, Security is sure to be tightened around Pope Francis during the international meeting.
[Image via Salt+Light]