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  • » 12/06/2010, 00.00

    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

    29/11/2010 IRAQ
    Terrorists behind attack on Baghdad church arrested
    In the operation conducted by Iraqi security forces, new plans to target four buildings discovered. The 12 arrested have admitted their responsibility. But the news of the capture is no comfort to the Christian community, which continues to leave Baghdad.

    17/11/2010 IRAQ
    Archbishop of Mosul warns of change in strategy in attacks on Christians
    The United Nations should "put pressure on the Iraqi government," therefore investigate attacks and killings "in depth", says Mgr. George Basile Casmoussa, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul. With the murder of two Christians, in their own homes, we are witnessing an escalation of attacks against the Christian minority in Iraq. Families are leaving the country.

    03/05/2010 IRAQ
    Car bomb targets Christian student’s bus near Mosul
    The toll is one dead and 100 wounded. For over five years the University of Mosul has been in the sights of Islamic extremists who want to convert students and kill the girls who do not wear the veil.

    10/11/2010 IRAQ
    Three Christians killed and 26 wounded. Appeal of Al Maliki
    A series of attacks this morning with mortars and homemade bombs. The prime minister pays a visit to the Syrian Catholic Church attacked by al-Qaeda and calls on Christians not to leave the country. Meanwhile the first survivors arrive in France, for receive special treatment.

    09/01/2015 IRAQ
    Rami, a refugee in Erbil: "We cannot run away, the future of Christians is in Iraq"
    Originally from Karamles, upon the arrival of the Islamic State the young man fled with his family. Now he is a guest at a refugee camp, where he promotes activities for the children. Many, including friends and acquaintances, have emigrated abroad; but "our roots, our life, our future is in Iraq."



    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan



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    VATICAN-CHINA
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