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  • » 05/10/2007, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Christian leaders join in Patriach Delly’s Iraq appeal



    The Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syrian-Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo said they were “moved” by the Chaldean Patriarch’s condemnation of Christian persecution in Iraq. They have urged Baghdad, the UN and international forces to “extinguish the flames in which all Iraqis are burning”. Mgr Gregotios Yohanna Ibrahim: “A plan is afoot to change the country’s social structure.”

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Religious leaders have taken up the Chaldean Patriarch’s appeal to save persecuted Christians in Iraq, asking for protection from the authorities and respect for human rights. However, while condemning the untenable situation, they have not lost hope that the “flames in which all Iraqis are burning will be extinguished.” Yesterday, as reported on the website Ankawa.com – Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, which has its headquarters in Chicago, reiterated the words spoken by Emmanuel III Delly on 6 May in Erbil, reinforcing them with more appeals to Iraqi political and religious leaders. A “strong” reminder of the need to preserve the “social and religious mosaic” of Iraq also came from the Syrian-Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo, as reported by the website Baghdadhope. In his address, Mgr Gregotios Yohanna Ibrahim concentrated above all on the damage caused by the war in Iraq.

    The Assyrian Patriarch of the East first drew attention to the tragedy facing the Christian community especially in “Mosul and Baghdad, where terrorists at work in Dora district are asking Christian families to convert to Islam or to pay a protection tax or to leave their homes and all their belongings.”

    Dinkha IV described as “inhuman” such acts perpetrated against Christians, “who have always respected the authorities”. For this reason, he continued, “we call on the government to extinguish the flames in which all Iraqis, without distinction, are burning.” And turning to the Iraqi premier, the Shiite Nouri Al Maliki: “Muslim parties and groups that are perpetrating violent acts against Christians are far from Islam; so we ask the prime minister and MPs to take the necessary steps to stop the violence that is affecting all the sons of Iraq.” There was also a call to the international community: “We ask the United Nations and human rights organizations to ensure respect for the rights of persecuted peoples and to help us stop this violence.”

    A similar stand was taken by Mgr Gregotios Yohanna Ibrahim from Syria. “The words spoken by His Beatitude, the Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, moved us,” he said. “The forced emigration of Christians is terrible and not accepted either by Islam or by Christianity, or by reasonable human beings.” The bishop, however, used even more forceful language to claim that “in Iraq, there are those who want to exploit this situation to change the social structure of the country, to implement a specific plan aimed at undermining the national unity of Iraq, the cultural, religious and ethnic mosaic made up of all its citizens.”

    Mgr Ibrahim added: “As leaders and as men of faith, we have the duty to stand by the faithful, men of God, those who work for the good of the country. We must not be afraid even if the current situation appears to be like a black cloud to us, because the sun will shine again some day, and on that day we will feel that God is with us, with the entire country and with its people, Muslims and Christians.”

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    See also

    06/10/2006 IRAQ
    Terror campaign targets Chaldean church in Iraq

    There were two new attacks against the parish of the Holy Spirit in Mosul in as many days. A convent of Dominican Sisters has also been struck. These are the most blatant signs of a campaign that aims to throw Christians out of Iraq. Then there is the problem of emigration, a problem afflicting also Shiites and Sunnis.



    16/12/2009 IRAQ
    A policy of “ethnic cleansing” against Christians under way in Mosul, Mgr Sako says
    The archbishop of Kirkuk says security measures will be strengthened during Christmas for fear of new attacks. Two attacks are carried out in Mosul yesterday; two churches are hit, one baby girl is dead and 40 people are wounded. Source tells AsiaNews that the Christian community is “destined to die” in the city.

    09/07/2007 IRAQ
    New priest for Mosul, first communions in Baghdad
    A new Chaldean priest was ordained over the weekend in the diocese of Mosul: “I will continue the work of Fr Ragheed”. In Baghdad, 59 Syrian-Catholic children received their first Holy Communion. The bishop: “Cede not to the threats of evildoers.”

    07/02/2007 IRAQ
    Ordination of three Chaldean deacons “real sign of hope” for Iraq Christians
    The bishop of Kirkuk was present at the ceremony in Ankawa. He said: “It is a positive sign but the Iraqi Church is experiencing a worrying vacuum at pastoral level.” Kidnappings and threats targeting Christians continue in the north too.

    08/05/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean Patriarch: Christians persecuted by Iraqi government and foreign troops
    After a long silence, the leader of the Chaldean Church has gathered and echoed appeals by bishops and clergy, calling for a stop to “internal and external persecution” that is affecting Christians in Iraq. He urged politicians not to stand by and watch, and also condemned US troops: “God does not appreciate what you are doing in our country.”



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