Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad: Christian properties targeted by criminals, government and police weak

Msgr. Warduni confirms reports of "gangs and militias" responsible for attacks and expropriation of houses, commercial, cultural and religious sites. A milieu of groups that operate by exploiting the inertia of the authorities and the institutions and target Christians, Muslims, Yazidis. They are acting for money and are a concern. UN blue helmets to ensure the unity of Iraq.


Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "We do not know which militias or gangs are specifically responsible for these attacks and violence, but it is a phenomenon that has emerged over the most recent period, and it is something that deeply wounds our faithful ".

Msgr. Shlemon Warduni is seriously worried about the continued seizures of homes and commercial activities attacks on cultural centers and places of worship, including churches, which periodically occur against the Christian community in the capital. The Chaldean auxiliary bishop of Baghdad speaks to AsiaNews of "militias exploiting the weakness of the central government and the police".

Several local and international media reports have recently returned to highlight the issue of expropriations against the Christian community in the capital - Chaldeans, Assyrians and Syrians - at the hands of so-called "Shiite militias" supported by Iran. The robbers  force the owners to leave houses and possessions, according to the principle that "the property of a Christian can be confiscated."

In the pastoral letter to the faithful for Christmas, even the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Raphael Louis Sako had denounced the large-scale  and widespread the phenomenon, including it among the evils "afflicting society", some of which affect "especially Christians" . His Beatitude had spoken of "families being targeted with attacks and expropriations by criminals and extremist groups", in an appeal to the authorities for added security and protection.

The auxiliary bishop of Baghdad explains that it is difficult to single out these criminal groups and gangs, because they are from "different backgrounds" and have a transverse position within the ethnic and social landscape. Msgr. Warduni speaks of "gangs, not a single militia; there are various groups of thugs, operating mainly for money. "

"The police just respond little and badly - continues the Iraqi prelate - allowing these gangs operate with impunity. They also have the support and coverage of institutions and foreign governments, which fund them by providing weapons and cover".

 Msgr. Warduni also adds that "it matters little whether this violence is widespread or limited, because they have already sown fear in the population and even among Christians the fear of attacks is higher."

Criminal gangs strike where there are interests and money, without distinguishing between Christians, Muslims, Yazidis: "They go where they can," says the Baghdad's auxiliary, we ask for  "help against these cannibals, who kill us every day." For these purposes, Msgr. Warduni says  "the liberation of our villages and our towns" is essential.

The bishop maintains that “the intervention of an international force, like the blue helmets of the United Nations,"  is needed "while ensuring national unity, because for us division is a bad thing”. Division would result in "the destruction of Iraq, and there are many forces at play that have an interest to divide by exploiting the inertia of America and the West."

 "You have to sow peace and justice - concluded the Baghdad's auxiliary - and you need to stop the sale of weapons. Unscrupulous people who earn billions trading in death and crime just like the Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, IS] ".

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