» 10/11/2014, 00.00
IRAQ - VATICAN
Archbishop of Mosul: Christian families "desperate", solidarity of Synod important
Msgr. Nona sees the message delivered yesterday by the participants in the Synod as “very important”. The spirit and soul of the refugees, said the prelate, is becoming “increasingly disheartened and desperate”. The challenge of Iraqi Christian families in remaining united and educating their children in a context of serious difficulties. The militias of the Islamic State ready to launch the attack on Baghdad.
Erbil (AsiaNews) -
The solidarity expressed by
Synod currently being held in Rome towards Christian families in the Middle East
who are experiencing a period of great
"difficulty", in particular "Iraq" is a "very positive" signal because
it is "important to talk about this situation"
and "it gives us the strength to go forward", says Msgr. Emil Shimoun Nona, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, in the north, the
second most important city in the
country and first city to fall
into the hands of the militia of
the Islamic State.
Yesterday, the Synod devoted special attention
to the Syrian and Iraqi Christians, victims of
jihadist violence and the repercussions "on the
family, disrupted by the death of its members [...] deprived
of a future for young people [...]
and for the older people, abandoned to themselves". For Iraqi Christians the presence "of our patriarch Sako
and the other patriarchs" in
Rome is vital, to talk about "the
situation of refugees and "the challenges that they face". Over time,
warns the prelate," the spirit and
the mood of the refugees is becoming more disheartened and desperate, because they do not see positive signs for a
return home" in the near future.
Msgr. Nona was the first
to raise the alarm on the danger posed by the advance of the Islamists after the conquest of Mosul, where
about 500 thousand people - Muslims and Christians -
have fled in early June to avoid being forced to convert to extremist Islam and where
a caliphate was founded and sharia imposed.
In these hours, the Iraqi authorities have sounded the alarm,
calling for military aid in the western
province of Anbar, which
could "soon" fall into
the hands of the militia of the Islamic
State (IS). Jihadists are attacking the provincial capital, Ramadi, and have
captured large portions of land. The
eventual fall of Anbar would give the IS possession of a large area between Syria and Iraq, setting up a direct supply line ahead of an assault on
the Iraqi capital,
Baghdad, the ultimate goal of the
The situation of tension and danger of the
eventual fall of all Iraq into
the hands of the Islamic state, is accompanied by
the increasing difficulties faced by
refugees (Christian and non) in
the north of the country, particularly among
those who have fled Mosul and the Nineveh plain. "Now
people are desperate - says Msgr. Nona - and
no longer believes in a return home, it is clear that the Islamic State is stronger than
the coalition bombs". The prelate
said the commitment of the Church and ecclesiastical personalities
"to families who still live in tents, in
schools, in classrooms and in the
parishes". He adds that the focus
is to help them "live in a more humane way," and we are grateful "for the many donations that come
from all over the world."
"We're looking for houses to rent - says the
archbishop of Mosul - but it is impossible to find accommodation for all, so we are looking for other solutions." Msgr. Nona warns
of the many risks, many challenges and difficulties experienced
by the Iraqi Christian families torn from their land: "How is it
possible to stick together - asks
the prelate - and lead the everyday life of a family home, when you are in a tent in a public school or sharing an apartment with other families". Problems are emerging in terms of personal
relationships, in the internal relationship of the couple and education of children,
all the problems that
accompany "serious economic
difficulties." This is why priests "promote activities for children and young people, to help them play to forget, even for a few moments, the drama of war."
Finally, the archbishop of Mosul calls on the Synod in Rome to pay "attention to the
difficulties experienced by families,"
looking at "different
situations and different realities"
elaborating "that is not a global
one for everyone, but respecting the way of thinking and living of
families around the world. "(DS)
Mosul celebrating the appointment of new archbishop after the death of Mgr Rahho
Benedict XVI approves the election of Rev Emil Shimoun Nona by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church. The diocese had no leader since March 2008 when Mgr Rahho was abducted and murdered. Catholics in Mosul are full of “joy and renewed hope.”
Dozens of Christian families go back to Mosul
Over the past two months, 81 families have returned to the city. Sources for AsiaNews in Mosul say there is a climate of "hope and fear." The central government is paying more attention to the conditions of refugees. The Iraqi deputy minister criticizes European governments for "inciting families to flee."
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