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    » 10/11/2014, 00.00


    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 terrorists.

    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)


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    See also

    13/11/2009 IRAQ
    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.”

    18/02/2009 IRAQ
    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."

    11/06/2014 IRAQ
    Chaldean Archbishop: Christians and Muslims fleeing Mosul, occupied by Islamists
    Msgr. Nona appeals urgently for aid because supplies of food and water are running scarce. The Islamists have taken control of the city. Police and military have abandoned their weapons. Faithful, priests and nuns have left the area, the churches are closed. The prelate prays for a "strong state" that is a guarantor of peace and unity. Premier Al-Maliki declares a state of emergency.

    18/01/2010 IRAQ
    Mosul, a Christian businessman killed as the faithful celebrate their new archbishop
    Cold-blooded execution of a 52-year-old Syrian Catholic, married and father of two daughters. Local sources complain: a new attack to push the Christians toward the plain of Nineveh. Yesterday, Msgr. Emil Shimoun Nona, the new archbishop of Mosul, made his entry into the diocese.

    28/08/2015 VATICAN - IRAQ
    Fr. Samir of Amadiya: The Pope is the voice of Iraqi refugees
    The Chaldean priest met Pope Francis, asking him to keep the world’s focus on Christian refugees from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain. His diocese is home to 3500 Christian families and almost half a million Yazidis who fled Islamic State violence. ISIS is not all Islam and there are Muslims who want an Iraq of coexistence. Christians might not emigrate, but remain in their own land. Aid projects for refugees: school for children, work for adults, a home for every family. An appeal to AsiaNews.

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