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  • » 07/23/2013, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Kurdistan: 'Islamic' ambulance driver refuses to take the body of a Christian woman to church



    The woman's body had to be transported from a hospital in Erbil to an Assyrian Church in Ankawa. In the country, violence is up as Sunnis and Shias clash. Some 500 prisoners, many of them members of Al Qaeda already sentenced to death, escape.

    Erbil (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A Kurdish ambulance driver refused to transport the body of an Assyrian woman from the hospital to the church, saying it was forbidden in Islam. The incident occurred in Iraqi Kurdistan, a symptom of the country's growing ethnic-religious polarisation.

    The body of the Assyrian woman, who died last Sunday at Zarkari hospital in Erbil, had to be brought to the town of Ankawa, but the Muslim ambulance driver refused to drive to the church because it is "haram" (forbidden) in Islam.

    Marivan Naqshbandi, media director at the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Kurdish Regional Government in north of Iraq, asked the Health Ministry to open an investigation into the case.

    "The Committee for promoting religious coexistence, which was formed recently in the region, should follow up on this case to insure that civil servants carry out their duties professionally and impartially and not on the basis of personal religious beliefs," he said.

    Insecurity and violence are rising in the country, especially after US and international troops left in 2011.

    Between April and June of this year, at least 2,500 people were killed in violent attacks, many blamed on the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites.

    On Sunday, armed groups attacked two prisons in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib and Taji, freeing about 500 prisoners, many of whom al Qaeda members, already sentenced to death.

    The situation returned to normal after several hours of fighting in which at least 20 police officers were killed. At first, Iraqi authorities denied that prisoners had escaped; then admitted that "some" had.

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    See also

    06/06/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean synod: the names of two new bishops leaked
    They are Fadi Isho and Philip Najim. Synod discusses the safety of Christian community and the controversial idea of an “ethnic enclave” for Iraqi Christians.

    05/06/2008 IRAQ
    Kurdish authorities ready to give up on Kirkuk referendum
    The Kurdish prime minister says he is ready for “a solution, not especially a referendum.” Latest postponement ends in late June. A compromise raises hope for greater stability; Erbil might like possible solution as well.

    01/06/2009 IRAQ
    Iraqi Kurdistan begins exporting “its” oil
    The crude oil is being piped from Kirkuk to Turkey. The operation was given the go ahead by the central government which in the past had cancelled all contracts signed by the Kurdish government. All proceeds from the energy sector make up 90% of Iraqi GDP. The aim is to pass from 2.2 million barrels to 6 million a day, in five years.

    31/12/2009 IRAQ
    Nouri al-Maliki and the conundrum of Kirkuk
    The forthcoming visit of Prime Minister to Kurdistan is hope for a reconciliation with Baghdad. But Kirkuk, which owns 25% of Iraqi oil, is in the sights of Arabs and Turkmen. Iran fears a Kurdish state power, the U.S. fear a conflagration that could delay their departure from Iraq in 2011.

    29/07/2014 IRAQ
    Patriarch Sako: In the end, peace, not war, will win in Mosul
    The Patriarch, together with a delegation of French prelates in Erbil, came to be among the families of Christians expelled by jihadists. "I bring Pope Francis' solidarity and love," he said. Shias are persecuted in Mosul as well. Their shrines and places of worship have been destroyed as well. The city is suffering from fuel and power shortages.



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