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» 04/07/2008
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
01/10/2008 IRAQ
Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue
10/07/2008 IRAQ
Mosul, another "targeted murder" against the Christian community
06/04/2007 IRAQ
The Chaldean Church mourns Fr. Ragheed Ganni and his martyrs
09/23/2004 iraq
Terror group beheads second US hostage, while British hostage pleads for his life
10/16/2006 IRAQ
Patriarch Delly: World has forgotten Iraqi Christians
by Yousef Hourany

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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