04/24/2007, 00.00
IRAQ
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Bishop of Kurdistan: “the Church in Iraq is in great danger”

The latest attacks in the North, until now the safest area in the country, sound the alarm. Msgr Rabban Al Qas "begs" the Vatican: “Intervene, Christians are now in ranger everywhere”. The death toll from a suicide bombing of Tell-el-skop: 10 dead, among the 140 wounded two Dominican nuns. In Baghdad the ongoing” massacre” of Christians and Shiites in the Dora quarter.

Erbil (AsiaNews) – There are numerous children and Dominican nuns among the wounded from yesterday’s suicide bombing of the Christian village of Tell-el-skop, north east of Mosul.  Suicide attacks targeting the North of the country have sounded the alarm for religious leaders, who now ask the Holy See for help.  “Find a way, a means to save us, the Church in all of Iraq is in great danger, we beg the Vatican to help us bring our voice to the world”.  It almost seems like an ultimatum, these words expressed by Msgr. Rabban al Qas, Chaldean bishop of Amadiyah and Erbil, in his reiteration of the Iraqi Catholic Churches appeal launched yesterday through AsiaNews l’appello, following the increasingly ferocious nature of attacks carried out against Christians in the country. 

The bishop speaks from Kurdistan, upon till now an oasis of calm where Iraq’s Christians could find refuge.  He speaks of the “frightening situation” for the community in big cities and in the small villages.  Yesterday’s attack on Tell-el-skop, where a car bomb was exploded closet o the head quarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Kurdish political party lead by Massoud Balzani, was not the first such attack. The explosion seriously damaged the nearby Dominican Convent and primary school and kindergarten which the sisters run.  At least 10 people were killed among them two children; among the 140 wounded there are two religious.  A sister present at the time of the blast said the explosion terrorized the little ones, who up on till now had never witnessed such violence in their village. 

According to local catholic sources the spreading attacks on the north have confessional origins: “they want to attack Christians and religious minorities to prove that there is neither security plan, nor protection barrier that the USA can build capable of protecting them”. Political-economic motivations are neither excluded: “We will target Kurds along with Christians, whose demands on Kirkuk’s oil reserves are intolerable to many groups both in Iraq and abroad” add the sources.

Either ways the areas suffering the most at the moment remain Baghdad and Mosul.   Church sources in Baghdad confirm that the “massacre” in the Dora quarter, where armed Sunni groups kill Shiites and impose conversion or exile on the Christians, continues unabated. Even Christians hopeful of a free and peaceful Iraq now speak of “a country without hope, for at least a further ten years”. 

 

 

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