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    » 01/10/2008, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Archbishop of Kirkuk says bombs will not kill hope or stop dialogue



    Following yesterday’s two attacks against the Chaldean cathedral and a Syro-Orthodox Church, Msgr. Sako speaks of a “political message aimed at Christians” and guarantees that “our commitment to building peaceful coexistence will not stop”. Appeal to the faithful of the world: we will not give in but we need your prayers.

    Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – “We are concerned by yesterday’s attacks but we continue to have hope and we will continue in our commitment to inter-religious dialogue”.  Msgr. Louis Sako, Archbishop of Kirkuk declared to AsiaNews in the aftermath of yesterday’s two car bomb attacks (not three as it had first been reported) which targeted the Chaldean cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the Syro-Orthodox church of Mar-Ephrem. The explosions - described by the prelate as a “political message to Christians”- caused material damage and left “one or two people slightly injured”.

    “We do not know who are behind the attacks – the prelate explains – but one thing is certain: these actions aim to send a clear message to Iraq’s Christians”.  “They are co-ordinated – continues Msgr. Sako – they target Christian places of worship, they do not want to provoke deaths, but at the same time they do not leave us in peace”.  On January 6th, 7 Christian targets in Mosul and Baghdad were attacked using exactly the same formula, (co-ordinated car bombs planned so as not to cause massacres).  The Iraqi government had condemned the acts of terrorism and guaranteed protection for Christians.

    Words and gestures of solidarity were immediately expressed towards the Christian community of Kirkuk, by political and religious figures of note.  “The ordinary people were the first to show their solidarity – the archbishop says –local leaders followed, political parties, Sunni and Shiite religious”.  The ecclesial authorities also telephoned Msgr. Sako: the Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Dally; the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV from the United States; as well as “bishops and friends from across the world”.  Msgr. Sako is not discouraged and guarantees: “One thing remains absolute and unshakable for our community here in Kirkuk, we will persevere with dialogue to build and strengthen peaceful coexistence”. And from the faithful gathered around their bishop an appeal: “The witness of Iraq’s faithful is strong in a time of great difficulty, keep praying for us”. (MA)

     

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    See also

    01/03/2010 IRAQ
    Iraqi Christians demonstrate, fast against killings and the Nineveh “ghetto”
    People gather, pray and fast across Iraq against “targeted killings.” The archbishop of Mosul asks for security and an investigation into those who are responsible for the slaughter. For the archbishop of Kirkuk, the Muslim community must react and take concrete actions. The auxiliary bishop of Baghdad warns that Christians risk a holocaust at a fundamental moment.

    06/06/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean synod: the names of two new bishops leaked
    They are Fadi Isho and Philip Najim. Synod discusses the safety of Christian community and the controversial idea of an “ethnic enclave” for Iraqi Christians.

    11/01/2008 IRAQ
    Imam of Kirkuk: attacks against Christians are “against Islam”
    During Friday prayers, Muslim leaders praise the Churches commitment to dialogue and condemn Wednesday’s attacks against Christian targets. The Archdiocese helps to repair damage done to Muslim families.

    06/06/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean priest kidnapped in Baghdad
    Father Hani was taken on his way to the capital’s minor seminar. Five boys were abducted with him. Christians are plunged into a state of gloom.

    23/11/2007 IRAQ
    The fears and hopes of Iraqi Christians
    A day before the patriarch of Baghdad becomes cardinal, the bishop of Kirkuk looks at the signs of hope that appear on the horizon of Iraqi Christians. Security in the country is improving and moderate Muslims are more open to dialogue. Christians’ cultural and economic contribution is essential for Iraq.



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