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» 05/03/2011
IRAQ
Christians fear more attacks, Iraqi ambassador in Rome pledges protection
In Iraq, Osama Bin Laden’s death might spark more terrorist attacks against religious minorities. The “most important thing is to ensure the security of Christians,” Saywan Barzani says. On Iraqi TV, the terrorist leader is described as a “saint”.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Osama Bin Laden’s death has raised fears among Iraqi Christians. Iraq’s ambassador to Italy, Saywan Barzani, has tried to allay such fears, saying that for his government, the “most important thing is to ensure the security and defence of Christians.” In Iraq, Church sources note “Osama Bin Laden is a strange and dangerous phenomenon. He has created a school, and an en entire generation has been indoctrinated by him. They number in the thousands in Arab nations but also elsewhere.”

Bin Laden’s death has caused dangerous reactions, a Christian priest told AsiaNews. “On TV, he is described as a saint. Even serious people view him as an actual mujahid (fighter), a shahid (martyr) who should be celebrated as such. An imam said that just [by shedding] a drop of his blood, he will go to heaven. Bin Laden has fought against Sufis, Christians and Shias… I am shocked.”

His legacy will survive his death, this according to Christians in Baghdad. “Bin Laden represents a radical movement against everything that is not medieval Islam. It is especially politicised against the West (seen as morally and culturally corrupt). In many Arab countries, intellectuals praised him. The danger, for the West, which is seen as the Great Satan, is now greater.”

For Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, a great educational effort is needed. “His death does not solve the problem. With his disappearance, there will not be more peace. His death will not increase pluralism and communal harmony. We need a campaign to re-educate young Muslims towards a moderate Islam that accepts others and respects diversity. War complicates matters and does not help positive change.”

Many also fear a possible “vengeance”. AsiaNews spoke to Saiwan Barzani, Iraq’s ambassador to Italy about it.

“Iraq is the main front in the worldwide fight against terrorism,” he said. “We have had the largest number of attacks in history as well as the greatest number of casualties. We have a long experience, and our security forces and military are on maximum alert.”

Barzani noted that terrorists began targeting Christians when they realised that this would attract media attention.” The government is doing everything it can to protect churches and Iraq’s Christian communities because they are an historical component of Iraq. Indeed, we must protect them by any means.”

Now the danger is greater. “In their strategy, terrorists will try to target Christians more than others, but the most important thing is to provide them maximum security, finding ways to protect them without raising too much their media profile or taking security measures that are so visible that they will draw terrorist interest. Terrorists want publicity, and this way, they destabilise the country.”


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See also
06/23/2006 IRAQ
Al-Qaeda in Iraq's strategy to change under al-Masri
12/06/2004 saudi arabia
Attackers hold hostages at U.S. consulate in Jeddah
05/02/2011 PAKISTAN - USA
Osama Bin Laden is killed. U.S. celebrates, fear in Pakistan
09/06/2012 PAKISTAN
Islamabad expels six foreign Save the Children aid workers
05/03/2011 RUSSIA - ISLAM
Bin Laden, Moscow Patriarchate joins Vatican in denouncing celebrations
by Nina Achmatova

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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