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» 07/15/2011
IRAQ
2010 a terrible year for Iraq’s Christians
by Naman Tarcha
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.


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See also
11/13/2010 MIDDLE EAST
Christians in the Middle East essential for the survival of the Arab world
06/04/2010 IRAQ
Synod for Middle East Churches: the common commitment of Iraqi Catholics and Orthodox
by Layla Yousif Rahema
03/28/2006 MIDDLE EAST
Inter-faith meeting upholds religious freedom
by Jihad Issa
10/23/2010 VATICAN - MIDDLE EAST
Synod for the Middle East: a Message to the People of God
09/22/2004 MIDDLE EAST
Arms sales to largest market drop

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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