Follow the money: Cardinal says ISIS conflict is not about religion

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The conflict in which Islamic State fighters are driving out Christians and other minorities must not be seen as a war between Islam and Christianity, said the head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches. “I do not share this position and I ask, on the contrary, that it never prevail,” Cardinal Leonardo Sandri told participants in the inaugural In Defense of Christians summit Sept. 9.

He said the Islamists are not looking to destroy a foreign Christian culture, but are intent on destroying centuries of “a respectful and useful cultural coexistence.” He also said it was “impossible … to quell the doubts about how the vast economic interests at stake affect the conflict.”

The cardinal reminded approximately 500 people at the Omni Shoreham Hotel about Pope Francis’ statement Sept. 8, 2013, the day after his prayer vigil for peace in Syria. Pope Francis said: “And the doubt always remains: Is this war or that war — because wars are everywhere — really a war to solve problems, or is it a commercial war for selling weapons in illegal trade? These are the enemies to fight, united and consistent, following no other interests than those of peace and of the common good.”

Cardinal Sandri said that people also must consider “the control of oil wells and of gas deposits, the safety of the petroleum and gas pipelines, the supremacy of one area of free commercial trade over another, and this is not only in the Middle East but also in Eastern Europe and in other regions of the world.”