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» 07/13/2009
IRAQ
Car bomb against Mosul church as Mgr Warduni calls attacks in Baghdad premeditated
In northern Iraq Our Lady of Fatima Church is hit; nearby Shia mosque is also damaged. Local sources warn of new attacks “against churches and monasteries”. A new Christian exodus is feared. For auxiliary bishop of Baghdad attacks were “organised”; he appeals for peace.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – A car bomb exploded this morning near Our lady of Fatima Church in Mosul. So far no casualties have been reported but the building was seriously damaged. The incident is the latest in a wave of violence against Christian places of worship. Yesterday seven Chaldean and Orthodox Churches were hit in Baghdad.

The Chaldean Church of St Mary, in Sharaa Philistine, was the worst hit. It is where the patriarchal vicar of Baghdad, Mgr Sleimon Wardouni, officiates.

“The situation is serious. The attacks against churches were carried out in concert; a sign they were not random but premeditated and organised,” Mgr Warduni told AsiaNews.

For the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad the Church of St Mary was “heavily damaged” but “I am more concerned about the two young people who were killed in the blast. Damages can be repaired but the lives of the two young people who were coming out after Mass where they had prayed for peace . . . that is the saddest thing.”

“An atmosphere of mistrust and negativity prevails among Christians,” the bishop said. “What harm or misdeed have we done to deserve these attacks? Perhaps our fault is to want peace, to love everyone,” he added. “Let us pray that the world shakes off its apathy and firmly demands peace.”

This morning a car bomb also exploded in Mosul’s Faisalia neighbourhood. It hit Our Lady of Fatima Church as well as a nearby Shia mosque. For now the bomb’s target remains unclear.

However, a local source told AsiaNews that churches and monasteries have received threats and that police have warned about “new attacks.”

According to the source the new wave of violence could be connected to “the upcoming provincial elections in Iraqi Kurdistan” and be a warning “to the local Christian community about the vote.”

In Karakosh authorities have imposed a curfew, closing access point to and fro the town. In turn this might trigger another “Christian exodus from the city” after a period of relative calm that had convinced many families to return home.

For a source in Baghdad, who spoke to AsiaNews anonymously for security reasons, there is no connection between the attacks against churches, which have the hallmark of al-Qaeda, and the murder of a woman in Germany dubbed the “veil martyr”.

“There are many [unanswered] questions. I cannot exclude police complicity in the attacks against the churches,” the source said, since “Christian buildings are guarded by police and it is highly unlikely that anyone can get in them and place a bomb without anyone seeing him.”

In Baghdad there is talk about a “possible connection” between anti-Christian attacks and provincial elections in oil rich Kirkuk, an area that has become a major bone of contention between Arabs and Kurds.

“When elections are on the horizon Christians always become targets for attacks,” said the source.

This morning another car bomb exploded near the US Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill as he travelled in a motorcade. The US diplomat was not injured and early reports indicate that no one was hurt.

According to the AsiaNews source, US presence in Iraq and support from the Christian world might provide another “possible explanation” for the attacks.

“Some fringe elements in the country view this close relationship as a betrayal of Iraq’s sovereignty or as taking a political position.” (DS)


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See also
10/09/2008 IRAQ
Islamic fundamentalists: "expel Christians from Mosul"
06/08/2007 IRAQ
Kidnapped Chaldean Priest : No to the Niniveh plain ethnic project
by Saad Hanna Sirop*
03/16/2009 IRAQ
Iraq looks to future with "optimism." Economic crisis feared more than security
01/31/2009 IRAQ
Heavy security measures during voting for provincial councils
01/04/2011 IRAQ
Muslim solidarity towards Iraqi Christians
by Layla Yousif Rahema

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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