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    » 08/02/2014, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Patriarch of Baghdad, Mosul Christians should be able to stay in Iraq, not forced into exile



    Mar Sako thanks France and Bahrain for the proposal to facilitate visas for Iraqi Christians, but calls for support for "a political solution" so the population is not forced to leave Iraq. Desperate need for emergency aid and shelters for refugees.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The families that have fled Mosul "must be able to stay in our homeland, Iraq". Facilitating their exile through special visas is not the real solution, rather a political effort is needed that will "allow us all to remain in this nation that we love and to live in safety, equality and dignity with everyone", says the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Raphael Louis Sako, in a message sent to AsiaNews, after the flight of about 500 thousand Muslims and Christians from Mosul, following the Islamic State's conquest of the city and its establishment of a Caliphate there under strict sharia.

    In recent days, France and Bahrain reportedly stated they are willing to offer asylum to Christians from Mosul, facilitating visas for them.

    The Patriarch thanked Paris and Manama "for their generous proposal", "it honors us and honors the countries that make it", but he stresses that "if we leave our homeland we will destroy the memory of our ancient history". Rather than a temporary,  humanitarian solution to the emergency, a "political solution" is what is needed: "all components of the Iraqi nation and the international assembly needs to think about finding a lasting solution that respects everyone and can save our country from this chaos and barbarity. "

    The patriarch - who yesterday returned from a visit to the families who have sought refuge in Kurdistan - says that "today, these displaced families have nothing left, the jihadists robbed them of everything and they are in a situation of insecurity, pain and dire need".

    While respecting the personal decisions of each of refugees, Mar Sako says that "if France and other countries really want to help, [they should do so] encouraging these families to stay by sending them emergency aid to ease their pain and help the construction of housing in the cities where they can live in security".

    He points out that on the other hand, the proposal to accommodate these families abroad, without knowing their number "is no simple thing, and certainly we must also think about the huge uprooting this entails with regard to the difference in language , culture, mentality and customs".

     

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    See also

    16/07/2014 IRAQ
    Patriarch of Baghdad grateful for the election of the Speaker of the House, now for the government
    After sending a letter-appeal to MPs, Mar Sako welcomes the appointment of the Sunni al-Salim Jabouri at the helm of the House. He calls for a renewed effort to complete the appointments (President and Prime Minister of the Republic) and open the doors to the formation of the executive. In Mosul, the Islamists "mark" the homes of Christians.

    11/06/2014 IRAQ
    Chaldean Archbishop: Christians and Muslims fleeing Mosul, occupied by Islamists
    Msgr. Nona appeals urgently for aid because supplies of food and water are running scarce. The Islamists have taken control of the city. Police and military have abandoned their weapons. Faithful, priests and nuns have left the area, the churches are closed. The prelate prays for a "strong state" that is a guarantor of peace and unity. Premier Al-Maliki declares a state of emergency.

    05/08/2014 IRAQ
    Sinjar, Islamic State militia massacre Yazidis and impose tax on Christians
    Dozens of Christian families fled the town north of Mosul, conquered over the weekend by ISIS. At least 70 members of the Muslim minority killed in the assault; Christians were forced to pay 80 dollars each, the cross removed from the church. The Islamists bombed the village of Telkef, killing a young Christian. Kurdish leaders order a counter-offensive, Baghdad offers air support.

    16/08/2007 IRAQ
    Ethnic cleansing first against Yazidis, soon against Christians
    The death toll from anti-Yazidi attacks in northern Iraq is rising and might reach 500. Sources warn AsiaNews that Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain are at risk. The area is currently controlled by Wahhabi extremists since there is no presence of US or Iraqi troops. In a climate of growing insecurity 40 children in Kirkuk receive their first communion on the day of the Assumption of Our Lady.

    04/08/2014 IRAQ
    Baghdad Patriarch calls for brotherhood and solidarity, the only way to overcome Iraq's tragedy
    Mar Raphael Louis Sako issues a message for the feast of the Transfiguration, which is also World Day of Prayer for Iraq. His Beatitude focuses on Pope Francis' call for "brotherhood" to transform "hearts and minds". As young people in Baghdad pray for Mosul, ISIS continues its advance in the North. UN sources report that July was a "tragic month" in terms of dead and wounded. Mar Sako offers prayer for peace.



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