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» 12/15/2012
IRAQ - VATICAN
Shiite ayatollah launches fatwa: Iraqi Christians, conversion to Islam or death
by Joseph Mahmoud
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 31/10/2010 Al 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 Muslims." Al 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 much." The 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."

The Vatican 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.

 


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See also
03/04/2008 IRAQ
Kidnappers of Mosul bishop, raise the ransom
05/30/2007 IRAQ
Baghdad, the Mahdi army imposes the veil on Christian women
05/24/2007 IRAQ
Iraqi government offers its “full support” to the persecuted Christians of Baghdad
10/31/2011 IRAQ
Forgiveness and prayers for peace one year on from Baghdad cathedral massacre
01/26/2009 INDONESIA
Indonesian Muslims against yoga, smoking, abstention from voting

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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