A Syrian priest who spent more than four months as a captive of the Islamic State is headed back to the conflict zone – and he wants both Christians and Muslims to embrace mercy.
“I will return right away to the Middle East. It’s God who asks us to continue our mission,” said Fr. Jacques Mourad, a Syriac Catholic priest of the Community of Al-Khalil, based at Deir Mar Musa (the Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian) in Al-Nabek, 50 miles northeast of Damascus.
He spoke to a press conference in Rome Dec. 10 organized by the pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Fr. Mourad said Christian outreach to Muslims can be part of the Church’s Year of Mercy.
“I ask first that Christians look with eyes and hearts of mercy and carry out the mission of mercy for all Muslims. It’s a way of combating violence. In this way they are a witness, a true testimony for our brothers.”
“I want to tell Muslims to remember that they are a religion of mercy,” he added.
“They understand Christians well, they accept them because they are mentioned in the Quran. They have nothing to do with religion and war. One can’t use religion to make war. Religion is a call to a righteous life, to peace, not to war.”