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» 12/06/2010
IRAQ
Two more Christians murdered overnight in Baghdad
The killings prompt exodus. Some 500 families fleeing from Baghdad and Mosul to the north. That might not hold up to the influx of refugees. Meanwhile, the government promises 400 dollars in aid to every family that leaves.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - An Christian elderly couple was killed in their home last night: the latest in a long series of bloody episodes involving Christians. According to the little information so far provided by an Interior Ministry spokesman gunmen broke into the couple in the neighbourhood of Baladiyat, a predominantly Shiite area . Hikmat Sammak and his wife, Samira had sold their house in Baghdad and gone to live in Ainkawa-Erbil in the north. Two days ago, they had returned to Baghdad to complete the transaction and sell their furniture. During the night the criminals broke into their home, bound them and stabbed them to death. Today, their bodies have been transferred to the monastery of St. Matthew at Ba Ashika for burial.

This latest act of violence came the same day Benedict XVI in his Angelus asked the faithful to pray for an end to the violence involving Christians and Muslims, that is sowing death in Iraq. Within hours of the murderer gen. Qassim Atta told a news conference that those responsible for deadly attacks on Christians, and other attacks in the country, are fifteen “non-Iraqi” Arabs, a euphemism for foreign terrorists.

And in this situation of growing insecurity the exodus of Iraqi Christian families to the north of the country continues. After the barrage of attacks on churches and private property of the community in Baghdad and Mosul about 500 families are now moving into the semi autonomous region of Kurdistan, according to estimates reported by the newspaper Azzaman. In Sulaimaniyah alone, at least 85 families arrived within two weeks. The displaced people leave behind them homes, possessions and their work, as well as parishes and monasteries, among the oldest in Christendom.

Their pain is not relieved by the guarantee of a government "in progress". Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is forming the new government on behalf of President Jalal Talabani. The Prime Minister has ensured that the new government will be formed by Dec. 30. But the political deadlock that has continued for nine months in Iraq gives little hope to the Christian community. After stopping a cell of al Qaeda held responsible for the 31 October at the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in the capital, the authorities have promised to give 400 US dollars to every family who decides to leave their homes. "They are crumbs” some Christians have said: the sum can not even pay one month's rent for an apartment in the North.

The Kurdish government in Erbil has promised to help the incoming refugees, but experts believe it will be difficult to manage such a large influx of migrants. Not everyone, however, has decide to flee. Especially in Mosul, Christians live in fear but there are many who prefer fear to the pain of leaving their homes. Once a community of around one million faithful Christians in Iraq since 2003 have seen their presence almost halved. (LYR)


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See also
11/29/2010 IRAQ
Terrorists behind attack on Baghdad church arrested
11/17/2010 IRAQ
Archbishop of Mosul warns of change in strategy in attacks on Christians
05/03/2010 IRAQ
Car bomb targets Christian student’s bus near Mosul
11/10/2010 IRAQ
Three Christians killed and 26 wounded. Appeal of Al Maliki
by Layla Yousif Rahema
01/06/2008 IRAQ
Coordinated attacks against Christian Churches in Baghdad and Mosul

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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