» 10/23/2008, 00.00
More violence in Mosul: father and son killed because they were Christian
Despite the hopes of the government and part of the population, the massacre of Christians continues in Iraq. The killing could be another signal for the Christians to leave the country. Prime minister al Maliki promises to "punish the guilty and their supporters."
Mosul (AsiaNews) - The Iraqi government is asking Christians to remain in Iraq, but is doing nothing to stop them from being slaughtered. Yesterday in Mosul, in the Sanaa neighborhood, a father and son were killed: no further details are available at this time on the method of the attack or the identity of the two victims, but their death must be seen in connection with the violence in recent weeks against Christians in the city.
The pogrom of the Iraqi Christians resumed at the beginning of October, and in a couple of weeks there have already been 14 deaths, plus 10,000 people who have fled from the massacre, toward the plain of Nineveh. Five homes have been destroyed in bombing attacks. An apparent calm has been seen in recent days, so much so that appeals have been launched calling for exiles to "return to their homes." According to a source for AsiaNews in Mosul, yesterday's murder could be "a signal to the Christians from terrorists or extremist groups," making clear to them that "they must leave the city."
Although half of the Christian population has left the city of Mosul because of fear of the violence, Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is calling on them to "stay" and to "collaborate in the reconstruction of the country." Yesterday the prime minister (in the photo) met with a delegation of religious leaders, to whom he confirmed that "the violence in Mosul is part of a precise political plan in the country," although he did not specify who is responsible for the attacks.
Al Maliki Is asking the Christians "not to give in to the criminal plan," and to remain in Iraq in order to contribute to the rebuilding of the country: in order to do this, he expresses his hope that there may be "the help and collaboration of the entire society," so that it may be "the Iraqis themselves who defeat those who want to drag the nation into chaos and wipe out the presence of Christians." The prime minister also promised that the guilty "will be punished," and that their supporters will also be stopped.
Finally, the prime minister promises that "the presence of Christians among the security forces and police will be increased, including at the officers' level": previously, the rank of officer had always been reserved for Muslims. Al Maliki says that the presence of Christians within the army should help them to "remain in their homes and on their land," feeling safer and better protected. He recalls that the destruction of the community would do "enormous damage to the entire Iraqi people," and calls upon the Iraqi ministry for migrants to do everything it can "to facilitate their return home."
Yesterday, Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, once again denounced the campaign of extermination against the Christians, emphasizing "the political game connected to the upcoming elections," and to the plan, which he has always opposed, to create "a Christian enclave in the plain of Nineveh." Now it is a matter of understanding what concrete action the central government will take in order to defend the Christians from persecution. On October 21, a delegation of the faithful from Mosul met with local and national political leaders, including the deputy prime minister, Rafeaa al-Eissawi, the mayor of the city, and the governor of Nineveh. The Christian delegation gave the deputy prime minister a letter asking for the return home of families that have fled, action from the government to protect them, complete security for students returning to school and adults returning to work, and compensation for the people whose homes have been destroyed.
Chaldean bishop of Kirkuk: Christians being driven out of Mosul for political reasons
The prelate launches an appeal, calling upon all to defend the minorities in Iraq, and the Christian minority, the target of many attacks, especially in Mosul. For the bishop, the Christians are victims of a political game connected to the upcoming elections, and to the project for a Christian enclave in the plain of Nineveh. An appeal to the Christians of the West as well, that they denounce every act of violence and to demonstrate solidarity and fellowship.
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Chaldean bishop: appeal for Mosul, emptied of Christians
Urged by the appeal of Benedict XVI, Rabban Al Qas, bishop of Ammadiya and Erbil, asks prime minister al Maliki and the American forces to accept responsibility for the violence afflicting Christians, the result of an intolerant fundamentalism that has never been halted. A request to the Islamic world as well, that it condemn what is taking place in Mosul. Tomorrow in Erbil, a meeting of Chaldean bishops and of the Vatican nuncio.
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Today Louis Sako, the archbishop of Kirkuk, celebrated the funeral for the victims. The ceremony was attended by "the highest local authorities, and many Muslims," who demonstrated their "repugnance" for the new episodes of violence. Sources for AsiaNews speak of an "execution" with a "confessional" backdrop.
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