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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
VATICAN
Pope remembers and prays for "latest tragedy" of migrants, "our brothers and sisters" who "are seeking happiness"At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis says he is praying for the hundreds of victims in a sinking off the coast of Libya. An appeal to the international community to "act decisively and promptly." "Every baptized person is called to witness in word and deed, that Jesus is risen, He is alive and present in our midst." The Christian message "is not a theory, an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions, or moralism, but a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a person: the Risen Christ, the living and only Savior of all" . The Pope will be in Turin on June 21 to honor the Shroud, the exposition of which begins today.
SAUDI ARABIA – YEMEN
Saudi war in Yemen masks widening domestic tensions
by Afshin ShahiSaudi Arabia is using the conflict in Yemen to control domestic problems, especially social inequalities and religious sectarianism. However, whilst the royal family flaunts its wealth, some 20 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Many disgruntled young Saudis end up becoming "foreign fighters" for the Islamic state (IS). Some 15 per cent of the Saudi population is Shia, under the heavy thumb of the Sunni-dominated state. Afshin Shahi, director of the Centre for the Study of Political Islam and lecturer in International Relations and Middle East Politics at University of Bradford, provides the following lucid analysis.
VATICAN
Pope: on the persecution of Christians, the international community should "not stand by mute and inactive” and “look away”For the sixth time in a week, Pope Francis mentioned the martyrdom of Christians in today’s Regina Caeli (the Marian prayer at Easter), slamming the indifference of the international community towards this "alarming failure to protect basic human rights.” Today’s martyrs "are many, and we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries." In addition, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters. To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is Risen!”

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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