01/30/2005, 00.00
IRAQ
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Msgr Warduni: a vote against terrorism

Baghdad's auxiliary bishop went to vote along with non-Christian clerics.  Voter turnout greater than expected.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) -- To Msgr Shlemon Warduni, Chaldean auxiliary bishop in Baghdad, it seems that voter turnout has been great.  "Everyone is going to vote".  The bishop went to vote along with non-Christian religious figures.  "People saw how tranquil we were upon our return from the polling station and decided to go themselves". 

Speaking to AsiaNews, he stated: "I can only thank God for how well the elections are going.  Even if forecasts had definitely not been good, there's no lack of tranquility in the Baghdad community." 

Since the polls opened this morning at 7 o'clock (local time), attacks have occured in various parts of the city, resulting in deaths and injuries.  "An intollerable price has been paid with the lives claimed by terrorism in these days," the bishop said, "nevertheless, the establishment of democracy is the only thing that can stop terrorism in its tracks: this is why the community is tranquil.  It is generally known that only elections can set the stage for stability. Iraq's Christian community has been praying for peace for some time.  "Today too," Monsignor Warduni added, "we pray for peace and that elections go smoothly.  Ensuring this country's future should be everyone's goal: we can do this by asking God for peace and committing ourselves to building democracy".  The bishop's most important task is inspiring hope and optimism in his community.  He asks that the world's Christians pray not only for their fellow Christians, but for all Iraqis.

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