Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Open Letter from Rodrigue Khoury to the ISIS Caliph

Arabic original here.

An Open Letter to the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from the President of the Party of the Levant, the Lawyer Rodrigue Khoury

Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?

This is what our God called out to Paul when he was devoting himself completely to tormenting Christians... And this call ushered in his transformation into a Christian and his guiding many souls to the right path.

O Caliph, so far as I can tell you are striving to build a state that pleases God.

So which does God favor: Stoning an adulteress to death and handing her soul over to Satan or caring for her in mercy and giving her good advice so that she becomes pious and righteous and guides other souls to repentance, thus winning her own soul and the souls of many others?

Which does God favor: Cutting off the hand of a thief or caring for him with reform and forgiveness so that he might become righteous and use that hand of his to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or write a testimony of his being rightly guided and so profit his soul and guide others to repentance?

Which does God favor: Crucifying an "apostate" who has left your religion or leaving him to search with his reason for the true religion?

I bear witness to the truth of my faith that is different for yours. Is this not better than me falsely witnessing to your faith when I do not believe it with true conviction? Would that not be a lie and false witness? Which pleases God more, that I bear false witness and proclaim a lie or that I bear witness to the truth, to the truth of what I believe?

O Caliph,

Put yourself in the place of those who have sinned once, while you are subject to many sins: If you committed adultery. If you stole. If you changed your religion...

Would you ask the judges to stone you or to have mercy on you? [translator's note: the difference between "to stone" and "to have mercy" in Arabic is a single diacritic dot]

If you were a Christian in "the lands governed by Islam", would you accept that they drive you off, slaughter you and deny you the most basic human rights?

And so, who are you to judge by fire? Are you not subject to human nature? Are you not subject to weaknesses?

O Caliph,

I call call upon you to imagine a state ruled by the Law of Christ, a state of peace, a state of love and freedom!

A state where a woman does not commit adultery because she loves her husband, not because she is afraid of being stoned to death.

A state where someone does not steal because of his love for his neighbor, not because he is afraid of having his hand cut off.

A state where someone does not murder because he considers his brother's life to be holy, not because he is afraid of being executed.

A state where believers pray and fast because of their attachment to their God, not because of the policeman's baton.

O Caliph,

I call upon you to fully contemplate the law of mercy, love and freedom established by our God incarnate, Jesus Christ, and to compare it to the laws of the gentiles. I call upon you to judge your state by its standards and to embrace Christianity and in doing so save yourself from torment in this world and in the world to come.

Leave condemning people to God.

Do not say "I am an adulterer", since our God is a God of love who accepts the repentant adulteress just as He accepts the righteous woman.

Do not say "I am a thief", since our God is a merciful God who accepts the reptenant thief just as He accepts the righteous man.

Do not say, "I am a paid traitor", since our God is a kind God who accepts the repentant traitor just as He accepts the honorable.

Do not say, "I am a murderous criminal thug", since our God is a tolerant God who accepts the repentant murderer just as He accepts the upright.

Do not say, "I am an Arab" or "a Turk" or... since for our God there is neither Arab nor non-Arab. He accepts all races in order to give them the light of His peace and  to poor out His love upon the entire world.

Do not say "I am a corrupt sinner", since our God is a long-suffering God. He has accepted the repentance of many and returned them to the straight path, making them great saints and preparing them for a great mission in His plan of salvation.

O Caliph,

Who knows? The Lord may have chosen you for such a mission. There is still enough time before you to repent and to know the true light, the light of our incarnate God Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified, the light of the most holy and eternal Trinity.

My love for you drives me to advise you before it's too late. The voice of the conscience cries out to you at all times: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?

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