» 02/16/2010, 00.00
Mosul, anti-Christian violence: two murders and a kidnapping in 24 hours
The Christian community is once again under attack from armed gangs, while the government does nothing to stop the attacks. In two raids two traders killed, a third man injured. “A large sum of money” demanded for the kidnapped Christians. Christian leader in Erbil: political ties between the expulsion of Christians from Iraq and the recent carnage in Baghdad.
Mosul (AsiaNews) - In just over 24 hours two Christian businessmen have been killed, one wounded and a fourth kidnapped, for whose release the kidnappers have asked for a "large sum of money." The streak of blood and violence against the Christian community in Mosul in northern Iraq shows no sign of abating as it comes under attack from armed gangs and abandoned by local authorities once again, as a local source told AsiaNews, "they do nothing to defend us."
Yesterday a Christian fruit vendor was killed in the district 17 Tammouz. The man, Najim Abdullah Fatoukhi of 42 years, was shot to death in front of his shop. The attackers fired from a car, and got away undisturbed.
The previous day, Sunday, February 14, Rayan Bashir Salem was killed. An armed commando entered the man's house in the neighbourhood of Al Mishraq, and shot him at point blank range. In the ambush his brother, Thair was wounded. The victim, also a merchant, owned a frozen goods store.
Finally, on 13 February, a gang kidnapped Sabah al Dahhan. Local sources said the kidnappers have demanded "a high amount of money" for his release.
Sources for AsiaNews in Mosul, asking for anonymity for security reasons, said the "persecution continues in complete indifference" and added that "Christians are living in a state of panic and are trying to leave the city.
Christians are convinced that "these are not normal criminals" behind the attacks and that there are "specific political plans": the creation of a Christian enclave in the plain of Nineveh and the government "does nothing to counter it."
A high-profile Christian political figure in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, explains that "even the attacks in Baghdad" in the recent past - which caused hundreds of dead or injured - are related to "project for an area to pen up the Christian community" .
Kidnapped Chaldean Priest : No to the Niniveh plain ethnic project
Opposition to the “Assyrian” ghetto to save Iraq’s persecuted Christians today finds a qualified representative: Fr. Saad Hanna Sirop, one of the first Chaldean priests to have been kidnapped in Baghdad, and for whose release Benedict XVI intervened. A victim of Iraq’s violent anti Christian persecution, he too views the idea of an ethnic-religious enclave as diametrically opposed to Iraq’s history and the purpose of evangelization. Moreover, Fr. Saad maintains that the project’s real aim is not protection of the Chaldean and Assyrian Christians, but to protect ambitious “personal and economic interests”.
Bishop of Baghdad: "Christians, do not be afraid", but the fear of a new exodus remains
Bishop Shlemon Warduni emphasizes the "high participation of the faithful” in Sunday services, which took place without incident, but does not hide the risk of a "new exodus from the country." The prelate asks the central government for "guarantees of safety" and the Christian community "to pursue the value of unity”.
Two Christians abducted in Mosul a week ago are freed
One of them the young driver from Alqosh originally from Batnaya. A ransom was demanded for both of them; Christians no longer feel safe not even in the North.
Karakosh - Baghdeeda: a Christian originally from Mosul is kidnapped
Louyaé Behnam was kidnapped yesterday by a group of armed men. The family has already paid a ransom of 15 thousand dollars, but the kidnappers have not yet released the man. Throughout the country attacks continue after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Christian student kidnapped by Islamic group in Mosul
The girl was abducted from the faculty of education. In the past, attacks have occurred against Christian university students because they wear make up or they refused to wear the veil. Attacks and kidnappings are a "warning" to force the mass exodus of Christians. Some people speak of "ethnic cleansing" on a religious basis.
CHINA – VATICAN
Global Times: the pope should accept the independence of the Chinese Church
After 24 hours of silence, China’s media today published excerpts, comments and editorials about Pope Francis’ interview with Asia Times. Although the pope did not address religious issues or Church problems, many saw the interview as an attempt to improve diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican, and advised Francis to accept Mao Zedong’s "three principles of independence" (theology, administration, jurisdiction), which would leave the power to appoint bishops in the hands of the Party. The People's Daily’s Global Times publishes an editorial on the issue.
INDIA – PHILIPPINES
Archbishop of Guwahati: In Asia religion is not dying, the faithful take strength from the Eucharist
Mgr Menamparampil is among the speakers at the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines. He was also a conflict mediator between various ethnic groups. He told AsiaNews about the value of the Congress for the Catholic Church in Asia and how people can bear witness the Gospel today, even amid tensions and violence of those who "hate us." "with the same pain in our hearts that we descend to our depths during a Eucharistic adoration."
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