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» 10/27/2008
IRAQ - VATICAN
Chaldean bishop: appeal for Mosul, emptied of Christians
by Rabban Al-Qas
Urged by the appeal of Benedict XVI, Rabban Al Qas, bishop of Ammadiya and Erbil, asks prime minister al Maliki and the American forces to accept responsibility for the violence afflicting Christians, the result of an intolerant fundamentalism that has never been halted. A request to the Islamic world as well, that it condemn what is taking place in Mosul. Tomorrow in Erbil, a meeting of Chaldean bishops and of the Vatican nuncio.

Erbil (AsiaNews) - The situation in Mosul (in northern Iraq) remains incendiary. In just a few weeks, there have been 14 deaths and more than 10,000 Christians have left. The authorities are shuffling the responsibility to each other, while the carnage worsens. Rabban Al Qas, bishop of Arbil, has sent us this appeal, which we gladly publish. Meanwhile, the bishop also says that starting tomorrow, for three days, 12 Chaldean bishops will meet in Erbil together with the Vatican nuncio in Iraq to evaluate the situation.

Through the agency AsiaNews, I wish to call upon all men of good will, those who respect man, and all believers in God to forcefully condemn the crimes that are being perpetrated against the Christians in Iraq, and in particular those taking place in Mosul in recent days.

I have been encouraged by the appeal that the Holy Father Benedict XVI issued yesterday at the Angelus. The pope is the only one who is not forgetting us, and his words demonstrate how close we are to his heart.

His appeal yesterday also asked for a more decisive commitment on the part of "civil and religious authorities" to reestablish the rule of law and coexistence.

What is taking place in Mosul today is precisely a result of this immobility on the part of the state, together with a distorted, fanatical, and fundamentalist mentality.

This tragedy - which recalls the situation of the Christians in the early centuries - began immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Thousands of Christians and Muslim Kurds have been driven out, killed, kidnapped, forced to leave Mosul. Less than one quarter of the former Christian population has remained.

Threats, sanctions, discrimination, blackmail, Islamic propaganda in the schools, slogans on the walls, have driven even the moderate Muslims to stop defending their Christian brothers from intolerance. Once they used to open their homes to the Christians; now, out of fear of fanaticism and terrorism, they do not even dare show that they are friends or acquaintances of Christians.

What is taking place in these days is the result of a long silence on the part of the Iraqi prime minister and of the government of Baghdad, which has been unable to stop the wave of violence against Christians. What is taking place in these days is their responsibility, without forgetting the responsibilities of the American forces and representatives of the United Nations. What is taking place in Mosul is happening right in front of their eyes: the terrorists are killing, placing bombs in homes and churches, driving out the Christians without the slightest effort by the authorities of Mosul to defend those whose only fault is that they are disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the face of this sad and terrible picture, I renew my appeal to Prime Minister al-Maliki, who has said that "Al Qaeda is responsible for all of this." Instead, it is up to him, as the authority, to reestablish peace without shirking his responsibility toward the Christians. The constitution must recognize and ensure the rights of all, including the Christians. Until now, the only safe haven for Iraqi Christians has been the area of Kurdistan.

My appeal is also addressed to the Muslim world, that they may denounce what is taking place in Mosul, and so that love and respect of the other may make all men happier as they live in peace.


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See also
10/23/2008 IRAQ
More violence in Mosul: father and son killed because they were Christian
03/16/2009 IRAQ
Iraq looks to future with "optimism." Economic crisis feared more than security
10/09/2008 IRAQ
Islamic fundamentalists: "expel Christians from Mosul"
10/22/2008 IRAQ
Chaldean bishop of Kirkuk: Christians being driven out of Mosul for political reasons
10/05/2008 IRAQ
Mosul, the relentless slaughter of Iraqi Christians

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VATICAN
"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
IRAQ - VATICAN
Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

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