» 07/15/2011, 00.00
2010 a terrible year for Iraq’s Christians
The human rights organization "Hammurabi" registers 92 killed and 47 wounded. Over the past seven years, Christian victims number 822, 629 of those killed because they belonged to the Christian minority. Benedict XVI's exhortation not to leave the country, and the signs of vitality of the Christian community.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The year 2010 was the worst year to date for the Christian community in Iraq, it has been revealed by the organization for human rights in Iraq, Hammurabi. Many Christians were forced to leave the country in fear of killings and violence of all kinds. The death toll among Christians over the past seven years, according to Hammurabi exceeds 822 people. 629 of them were murdered for being part of the Christian minority. Others were involved in 126 attacks of various kinds and many others have been victims of military operations undertaken by U.S. and Iraqi forces. 13% of victims are women. Among the Christian victims of 2010 there are 33 children, 25 elderly and 14 religious. In 2010 Hammurabi recorded 92 cases of Christians killed and 47 wounded, 68 in Baghdad, 23 in Mosul and one in Erbil.
The director of Hammurabi, named after the Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest known collections of laws in human history, William Warda, said that constant monitoring and documentation show that all the Christian Churches in Iraq - Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrians, Armenians - have suffered heavy losses in the number of their faithful, all over the country. The decline is particularly strong in Baghdad and Mosul, where Christians are concentrated in greater numbers. Warda said that in one year there were more than 90 Christians killed and 280 wounded, and two churches have been the target of attacks in Baghdad. According to UNICEF, between 2008 and 2010 more than 900 children have been killed in Iraq, and 3200 injured. Children represent the 8 .1% of the victims of attacks in Iraq, where there are an increasing number of attacks against schools and educators.
Although violence is still taking its toll on the Iraqi Christian community there are also strong signs of vitality. On 4 July the head of the Chaldean community, Patriarch Emmanuel Delly III, visited the highest Shiite religious authority of Iraq, Ali al-Sistani, and stressed that it was "a fraternal visit to reaffirm the unity of Iraq and of Iraqis, Muslims and Christians. " Last week in Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, the first church built after the 2003 invasion of Iraq was inaugurated, on land donated by the Iraqi government with the support of President Jalal Talabani, and funded by donations from Iraqi Christians (IRAQ, New ‘Three Fountains Church’ near Kirkuk, a sign of hope
There are also rumours, almost impossible to verify, of a possible visit by Benedict XVI to the historic city of Ur of the Chaldeens, in southern Iraq. A similar trip planned by John Paul II for the Jubilee of 2000 was called off for security reasons. Benedict XVI has repeatedly urged the Christians of the Middle East and Iraq in particular not to leave their homelands.
13/11/2010 MIDDLE EAST
Christians in the Middle East essential for the survival of the Arab world
For the Saudi journalist Mshari Al - Zaydi, fundamentalism and the economic crisis have overshadowed the importance of Christians to Muslims in the construction of their countries. Arab society is self-destructing and attacks against minorities are an excuse to vent the blame on someone for the failures of the Islamic world. "Pluralism is the best protection against ignorance and intolerance."
Synod for Middle East Churches: the common commitment of Iraqi Catholics and Orthodox
From May 26 to 27, priests and bishops of the Eastern Churches met in Sulaymaniyah in Kurdistan to discuss the common challenges of Catholics and Orthodox in view of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. Main theme of the meeting, the exodus of Christians that affects both communities and is ignored by the West.
28/03/2006 MIDDLE EAST
Inter-faith meeting upholds religious freedom
Representatives from various Christian Churches and denominations meet in Cairo with Muslim scholars and clerics. They agree to a nine-point programme that includes a demand to the United Nations for a declaration on respecting religions and their symbols.
23/10/2010 VATICAN - MIDDLE EAST
Synod for the Middle East: a Message to the People of God
Approved at the end of the synod assemblies, the text (presented here in full) is rich in ideas: the sad political situation in the Middle East, and the fatigue of Churches, emigration and the Diaspora, the desire to build a society with Jews and Muslims based on full equality of citizens, condemnation of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Christianity, the appeal to the UN and the international community to ensure peace in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, in Lebanon, in Iraq.
22/09/2004 MIDDLE EAST
Arms sales to largest market drop
The Middle East still remains largest market for weapons. In eight years arms sales totalled US$ 59 billion.
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
18/02/2017 CHINA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.