» 12/15/2012, 00.00
IRAQ - VATICAN
Shiite ayatollah launches fatwa: Iraqi Christians, conversion to Islam or death
From an Egyptian TV Jihad leader Ahmad Al Baghdadi Al Hassani speaks of Christians as polytheists and friends of the Zionists. Sources tell AsiaNews: a grave fact, but the government is attentive to these claims. Card. Sandri reconsecrates the cathedral scene of the massacre in October 2010. The tears, said the cardinal, "are seeds of communion and witness".
Baghdad (AsiaNews) - An Advent of
light and shadow for Iraq's Christians, who are celebrating the reopening of
the cathedral of Baghdad but at the same time subjected to new - and heavy -
threats from a radical Shiite Muslim leader. From
studies of a television broadcaster based in Egypt, an Iraqi Ayatollah launches
a fatwa against the religious minority on the eve of Christmas:
"Conversion to Islam or death." However,
strength of faith overcomes the fear of violence as witnessed by celebrations
for the "rebirth" of the Syrian Catholic cathedral in the capital,
the scene of a bloody attack at the end of October 2010 (see AsiaNews
Qaeda attack on Baghdad church ends in massacre)
In an interview last December 13
on Egyptian television Al Baghdadia, the Shiite ayatollah Ahmad Al Hassani Al
Baghdadi issued a fatwa against Christians in Iraq. Labeling
them as "polytheists" and "friends of the Zionists", the
extremist leader stressed that they must choose "or Islam or death,"
while "their women and girls may legitimately be regarded wives of
Baghdadi is known for his "jihad" positions and for attacking Americans
in the past during their presence in the country, and today he lives in Syria, supporting
the armed opposition.
Catholic sources in the capital tell
AsiaNews that it is "a very
serious fatwa," but "it is unlikely that people will be upset too
government pays "attention" to these proclamations by extremists,
however it is possible that such words could "create panic in some areas
of the capital," where there are now "very few" Christians.
This morning meanwhile Cardinal
Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches,
presided over the rededication ceremony of the restored Syrian Catholic
Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The
place which reopened yesterday to worship and to the faithful, was the scene
October 31, 2010 of a massacre carried out by a group of al Qaeda, which killed
about 50 faithful and two priests.
During the homily, the cardinal
immediately recalled the "testimony offered by many of our brothers and
sisters" who "preceded by two young and heroic priests" united
forever "their lives to Jesus Christ." He
highlighted the "honorable sacrifices" that have allowed the
reopening of the cathedral and pointed out that, through the comfort and hope
"the Lord encourages Eastern Christians, and especially those of Iraq, to communion
and testimony." Bringing
the greetings of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sandri invoked the Lord, so that
"the tears shed in this sacred place, become the good seed of communion
and witness and bear much fruit."
cardinal is in Iraq for a five-day official visit, which began on December 13,
in addition to the consecration, Cardinal Sandri took part in the Christmas
concert organized for the Year of Faith in the Armenian cathedral in the
capital, while over the next days he will visit Kirkuk
and Erbil in the north.
06/07/2016 08:57:00 IRAQ
Iraq sees worst bombing since invasion with 250 deaths
The death toll from Sunday's suicide bombing in Karrada district, center of Baghdad, has risen to 250. Scores of people were also injured but most have been released from hospital. Those critically injured had been sent abroad. Bewildered local residents have held candlelight vigils and prayed for peace. "We call on our Muslim brothers" to "condemn the crimes” Chaldean Patriarch said.
Kidnappers of Mosul bishop, raise the ransom
Yesterday evening, another telephone call, increasing the ransom and dictating conditions which “complicate the case”. Still no guarantees on the “wellbeing” of the bishop, abducted on February 29th. These latest developments raise fears that these are no ordinary criminals interested solely in money. Iraq’s premier sends a message to the Chaldean Patriarch.
Baghdad, the Mahdi army imposes the veil on Christian women
following in the footsteps of radical Sunnis, Shiites begin to persecute Christians. A letter is circulating the capital signed by al-Sadr militants announcing that special committees have been set up to insure Islamic behaviour. Russia guarantees that “pressure” will be brought to bear on the Iraqi authority and its international partners to insure respect for Christians. This afternoon the Iraqi Diaspora takes to the streets of Stockholm.
Iraqi government offers its “full support” to the persecuted Christians of Baghdad
In an official statement the Iraqi cabinet pledges protection to Christian families persecuted by Islamic extremists and condemns all violence perpetrated against the Christian community. Christians in Iraq welcome favourably the government’s statement, but call for “concrete steps”. Muslim religious leaders speak out in defence of their “Christian brothers”.
Forgiveness and prayers for peace one year on from Baghdad cathedral massacre
The words of Cardinal Sandri at a mass celebrated in Rome to commemorate the killing of over 40 people. Today in the Iraqi capital Archbishop of Baghdad leads celebration with patriarchs of the Maronite and Syrian Catholic Churches.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
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