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» 10/09/2008
IRAQ
Islamic fundamentalists: "expel Christians from Mosul"
Yesterday, a 38-year-old Chaldean was shot to death, but there could be a total of three victims. Men are driving around the city shouting slogans against the Christians, threatening more slaughter and violence. From the U.S. command, confirmation that Mosul has become the last stronghold of the al Qaeda militants.

Mosul (AsiaNews) - Jalal Moussa, 38, is the latest victim in the campaign of hatred launched by Islamic fundamentalists against Christians in Mosul, the theater of an "endless martyrdom," to the silence of the media and the international community. Jalal, a Christian of the Chaldean rite, was shot to death in front of his home in the neighborhood of Noor, the same neighborhood where Fr. Ragheed Gani and three deacons were killed in 2007, and where Archbishop Paulo Farj Rahho was kidnapped. The kidnapping of the archbishop of Mosul at the end of February ended tragically two weeks later, when the archbishop's body was found in an abandoned lot outside of the city.

AsiaNews sources reveal that "there could be two more victims," but at the moment there are no further details on their identity or the manner in which they were ambushed.

There is no end to the bloodshed in Mosul: in less than a week, nine people have died because they were Christians. From the town in the province of Nineveh come dramatic appeals, pleading "that silence not fall" over the continuing slaughter. "A campaign is underway to drive the Christians out of the area," a source reveals to AsiaNews, "and yesterday, a car with a loudspeaker went around the streets in the neighborhood of Sukkar, ordering the Christians to leave." "Christians out of the city," the people on board were shouting, "otherwise you will be victims of more attacks."

The persecution against the Christians could conceal political and economic motives, woven together with the confessional element at the basis of the violence committed on the part of the fundamentalist and jihadist Islamic world. Some of the victims in recent days were owners of stores and commercial activities in Mosul, a clear signal that the terrorists intend to wipe out the economic activity of Christians, forcing the population to leave. According to some witnesses, before shooting the terrorists accused the Christians of "wanting to create an enclave in Nineveh," and then proceeded with the execution in cold blood. Confirmation of how dangerous the city is, where gangs of terrorists connected to al Qaeda operate, also comes from the American military command: "Al Qaeda is trying to get a foothold in Iraq," reveals General Mark Hertling, commander of US troops in northern Iraq, "and Mosul is the base of operations that they have chosen for launching their attacks," with the infiltration of foreign militants from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, and Pakistan, through the Syrian border.

Most soul is also the place excluded from elections scheduled for January, and will hold a separate referendum that should determine destiny of the entire region, at the center of a struggle between the Kurdish and Arab communities. This is not an insignificant factor, if one considers the huge quantities of oil waiting to be tapped; the vote of the Christians could be decisive in tipping the balance to one side or the other.

The project inherent to the "plain of Nineveh" - where the intention is allegedly to create an enclave in which the Christians of Iraq could find refuge - has been at the center of exploitation and polemics, and is opposed by the majority of the Iraqi Church; the enclave, in fact, could be transformed into a sort of ghetto for shutting up refugees fleeing from Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Basra. The danger is that this could become "a ghetto for Christians," as Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, described the project in 2007, "and a breeding ground for revolts, clashes, and social tensions, as is taking place today in Palestine." For this reason, the Church has always promoted "coexistence under the banner of peace and mutual respect," among populations that are "rooted by history and tradition in the Iraqi homeland."

The violence in Mosul in recent weeks has driven an increasing number of people to leave the city. According to estimates by local Christians, "every week more than 20 families decide to flee." This exodus has "emptied entire neighborhoods" of Christians, "to the indifference of the media and of Western governments." (DS)


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See also
03/16/2009 IRAQ
Iraq looks to future with "optimism." Economic crisis feared more than security
10/27/2008 IRAQ - VATICAN
Chaldean bishop: appeal for Mosul, emptied of Christians
by Rabban Al-Qas
01/20/2009 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Muslims attack church, torture Christians
by Qaiser Felix
07/13/2009 IRAQ
Car bomb against Mosul church as Mgr Warduni calls attacks in Baghdad premeditated
08/09/2008 IRAQ
Kurdish prime minister Barzani in Kirkuk to promote "peace and harmony"

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

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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