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    » 04/07/2008, 00.00

    IRAQ

    All the Christian denominations at funeral for slain priest



    Yesterday at Saints Peter and Paul in Baghdad, the funeral was held for Youssef Adel, killed Saturday by unknown persons. Also present at the function, the Vatican nuncio and Cardinal Delly. The plan to drive Christians out of Iraq could be part of a more general strategy of Shiite supremacy in the Middle East.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - There is a climate of "great fear" in the Iraqi Christian community in Baghdad, where the funeral was held yesterday for the Assyrian Orthodox priest, Youssef Adel, killed in cold blood last April 5 in the capital.  The funeral, in the church of Saints Peter and Paul in the neighbourhood of Karrada, was celebrated by the Assyrian Orthodox archbishop of Baghdad and Basra, Saverius Jamil Hawa.  Various members of the faithful and religious representatives from all the Christian denominations were present, including Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, the Assyrian Catholic bishop of the capital, the patriarch of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the apostolic nuncio in Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt.

    Youssef Adel, who was married but had no children, was about 40 years old and was the director of a mixed high school, attended by Christians and Muslims, young men and young women. He was assassinated by a group of unknown persons. In the past, he had received a number of death threats. Condemnation of the attack has been expressed by the Iraqi vice president, the Sunni Tareq al-Hashemi, and by the Assyrian Orthodox patriarch of Damascus. As soon as he heard the news, Benedict XVI expressed his profound sadness. In a telegram sent to Saverius Jamil Hawa, the pope "calls upon the Lord, that the Iraqi people may find the way of peace, in order to build a just and tolerant society".

    The latest murder strikes at a community still in shock from the killing of the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Faraj Rahho, found dead on March 13 after 14 days in captivity. Many Christians are fleeing in order to survive the persecution, and it is now said that only 400-500,000 faithful remain in the country.  In 2003, the figure was around one million.  But at the funeral of the priest yesterday, there were also some - cited by the international news agencies - who said they were determined to stay: "it is a question of faith".

    Christian leaders have frequently denounced a plan to eliminate their millennia-old presence from Iraq.  And some advance the hypothesis that the Shiites are carrying out a calculated strategy in the Middle East, as demonstrated by the clashes in Basra in recent days, and by the situation in Lebanon and Palestine.  In the perspective of this plan for Shiite supremacy, Christians - who are equated with the West - must be driven out.

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    See also

    07/10/2008 IRAQ
    Mosul, another "targeted murder" against the Christian community
    A disabled 25-year-old shopkeeper was killed yesterday, not far from the shop that he owned. The objective of the fundamentalists is to shut down the activities of Christians and force them to flee. A source for AsiaNews denounces the "complicity" of the police, and the "curtain of silence" that has fallen across the slaughter.

    10/01/2008 IRAQ
    Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue
    Following yesterday’s two attacks against the Chaldean cathedral and a Syro-Orthodox Church, Msgr. Sako speaks of a “political message aimed at Christians” and guarantees that “our commitment to building peaceful coexistence will not stop”. Appeal to the faithful of the world: we will not give in but we need your prayers.

    04/06/2007 IRAQ
    The Chaldean Church mourns Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his martyrs
    Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly together with all of the Chaldean bishops condemn this barbarous murder of the priest and his three deacons, massacred yesterday in Mosul after Sunday Mass: “A horrible crime against God and humanity , may these martyrs find eternal rest”. This afternoon the funerals will be held in Karamles. New information comes to light surrounding the murders.

    23/09/2004 iraq
    Terror group beheads second US hostage, while British hostage pleads for his life
    Unconfirmed  reports say they have killed the two kidnapped Italian women.

    16/10/2006 IRAQ
    Patriarch Delly: World has forgotten Iraqi Christians

    In the aftermath of the murder of the priest Paulos Eskandar, the Chaldean patriarch denounced the indifference of the international community which, coupled with persecution, threatens to "empty" the Middle East of its Christian communities.





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