08/12/2014, 00.00
IRAQ-ITALY

"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan

Bernardo Cervellera
The 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.

Rome (AsiaNews) - "It is truly worthwhile to adopt a Christian persecuted and driven out of his home because of Christ", says the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Louis Sako in a message to AsiaNews commenting on the "Adopt a Christian from Mosul" campaign which we launched in the fatermath of the threats and massacres of the Islamic Caliphate and the flight of Iraqi Christians in the Northeast. "I am very grateful and deeply moved - writes the Patriarch - I thank you all for this initiative along with AsiaNews, for the help and solidarity you are showing to the Christians of Iraq in their dramatic situation".

He adds: "I hope that this chain of solidarity will spread far and wide. They [the Christians] need everything. There are many children, sick and old. The Lord Jesus bless you and fill you with His graces."

Msgr. Rabban Al-Qas, bishop of Amadiyah, in Kurdistan, which together with other diocese is accepting tens of thousands of fugitives from Mosul, Qaraqosh and Ankawa, thanks "those who think of us and are looking for ways to help". "The AsiaNews campaign - he continues - is a positive step, because it wants to help Christians on the groound and not force them to flee elsewhere. Unfortunately many see escape as their only solution, the apply for the documents and leave. Yesterday 150 people left for Turkey, aboard three buses. What is our destiny and what does the future holds for us? The Nineveh plain is empty and there are no more Christians".

"The people - says Msgr. Rabban - leave out of fear, the strength of the terrorists is so great, and they are afraid, especially for women and girls, given the rumors circulating about the violence of the Islamists. The diocese has organized with the priests and religious providing the empty houses to accommodate the displaced families. We fielded aid for these people by giving them bags with food. Now efforts are focused in the distribution of aid".

But there are hundreds of thousands of refugees and the diocese of Amadiyah cannot contain them. Now other reception points are being set up in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"We are not afraid - continues  the bishop - and we try to do our best to give comfort not only to Christians but also to Arabs fleeing from Tikrit, and Yazidis, without religious distinction. I also told my priests to look beyond confessional differences and never ask for anything in return for their efforts. It must be a freely given help, according to the teachings of the Gospel".

"The situation - he adds- is very delicate, even if great efforts are being made and the Church is playing a huge part. The Chaldean Church is alive, active, and we witness our presence with love. Kurds also bring aid to all without differentiating; local religious leaders are promoting tolerance and love, and are ready to help".

"The majority of Christians - confesses Msgr. Rabban - want to get their documents and leave, go away, because they are afraid. Thousand of Christians want to escape. And the future of the Nineveh plain will be a black future, it will no longer be safe , it will be uninhabitable. The real problem is the lack of government from Baghdad, the security crisis. Added to this is the fanaticism of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are at the origin of this situation: what we see now is the result of their maneuvers, first in Syria and now here in Iraq. They do not believe in tolerance".

The AsiaNews campaign aims to donate at least 5 euro for every Christian: This will cover the food ration for one day.

To find out how you can help, click here

 

 

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