11/17/2010, 00.00
IRAQ
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Archbishop of Mosul warns of change in strategy in attacks on Christians

The United Nations should "put pressure on the Iraqi government," therefore investigate attacks and killings "in depth", says Mgr. George Basile Casmoussa, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul. With the murder of two Christians, in their own homes, we are witnessing an escalation of attacks against the Christian minority in Iraq. Families are leaving the country.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - After the church attack in Baghdad that killed 55 people, and the statement of Al Qaeda that Christians are "legitimate targets", there has been no end to the violence against the Christian minority in Iraq. On November 15, in Mosul, two other men were killed in their homes. According to the statements of police, some unknown persons broke into homes and gunned them down with automatic weapons before fleeing. The victims were Nabil Ghanem and Nashwan Khoder, both 36 years old. The first, Syrian Catholic, worked for the provincial unit of the organization to combat corruption, the second, a carpenter of Armenian origin.

This latest attack - a real execution- seems to indicate a different strategy in the attacks against Christians. Mgr. George Basile Casmoussa, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, is convinced of this and spoke to AsiaNews about the dramatic situation of the Christian community in Iraq:

Do you believe, we are seeing a surge in attacks against the Christian minority in Iraq?

Yes and a new, dangerous growth: the novelty is that the terrorists are attacking people directly in their homes. There is a change in strategy.

Are these latest attacks - including that of 31 October against the church in Baghdad, claimed by Al Qaeda - pushing the Christian community to flee Iraq? And in this case, to where?

Many Christian families are leaving or would like to leave the big cities, Baghdad and Mosul in particular. The first step is to leave their homes. But some of them try to go abroad.

Would you like to make an appeal for Christians in Iraq through AsiaNews?

We are asking the United Nations to seriously discuss the issue of Iraqi Christians. To send a real commission for an inquiry. To put pressure on the Iraqi government to ensure attention and the highest security to churches and Christian villages. And to pursue the murderers, to the very end.

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