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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
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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