11/22/2010, 00.00
IRAQ
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After the attacks on Christians in Baghdad, 40 families emigrate North

by Layla Yousif Rahema
For fear of staying in the capital, many took refuge in Sulaimaniya. Here, Nov. 20, they were visited by the Archbishop of Kirkuk and the wife of Iraqi President Talabani.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - After the last attack on the Christian community in Iraq, a new exodus of families from Baghdad are heading toward the north. Following the terrorist massacre in the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in the capital on October 31, the threat of Al Qaeda to eliminate Christians from the Middle East and the explosions in front of houses in targeted neighbourhoods inhabited by Christians, 40 families have transferred to Sulaimaniyah. In 30, they are living in the parish buildings of Saint Joseph church and 10 are staying with host families in the area.

The Parish Council offers food for all of the people. On 20 November, the Catholic archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako, visited the families bringing material aid and encouraging them to hope "for a better future." During the meeting, some people described their experience of the October 31 attack, which killed 44 faithful, two priests and seven security guards, and expressed their fear of returning to the capital and their disappointment in the politics of government.

The meeting was also attended by the wife of Iraqi president, Kurdish Jalal Talabani, who visited the families, bringing solidarity and support their suffering. The Archbishop and the parish council are committed to try to ensure education for the children of immigrant families and decent housing for those who want to stay in Sulaimaniyah.

The parish community and the Chaldean Sisters of the Immaculate will care for the Christian migrants: with prayer, songs and moments of social and religious programs, speaking about life in the town north of Iraq, they will try to help everyone forget the enormous trauma of their current suffering.

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