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    » 05/03/2011, 00.00

    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

    23/06/2006 IRAQ
    Al-Qaeda in Iraq's strategy to change under al-Masri
    An old friend of al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's number two man, the Egyptian-born al-Masri should stir the movement away from reckless attacks, especially against Shiite mosques, and fall in line with the group's global strategy.

    06/12/2004 saudi arabia
    Attackers hold hostages at U.S. consulate in Jeddah
    The situation brought "under control" after hours.

    02/05/2011 PAKISTAN - USA
    Osama Bin Laden is killed. U.S. celebrates, fear in Pakistan
    The official announcement was made by Barack Obama. Thousands of cheering young people at the White House. In Pakistan there is fear of Taliban reactions. Enhanced security measures at government offices and churches. The dollar strengthens and oil prices fall.

    06/09/2012 PAKISTAN
    Islamabad expels six foreign Save the Children aid workers
    For the Pakistani government, they helped US spies find the hiding place of al Qaeda's founder, thus facilitating his killing. For the NGO, which denies any involvement with the US operation, the decision remains unmotivated. A doctor sentenced to 33 years in prison is thought to have had links with the charity.

    03/05/2011 RUSSIA - ISLAM
    Bin Laden, Moscow Patriarchate joins Vatican in denouncing celebrations
    Deputy Head of Department for Relations between the Church and society: his death does not solve the terrorism problem. And in Russia, Jewish and Muslim leaders praise the just vengeance carried out by the United States.



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