10/11/2014, 00.00
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Archbishop of Mosul: Christian families "desperate", solidarity of Synod important

Msgr. Nona sees the message delivered yesterday by the participants in the Synod as “very important”. The spirit and soul of the refugees, said the prelate, is becoming “increasingly disheartened and desperate”. The challenge of Iraqi Christian families in remaining united and educating their children in a context of serious difficulties. The militias of the Islamic State ready to launch the attack on Baghdad.

Erbil (AsiaNews) - The solidarity expressed by Synod currently being held in Rome towards Christian families in the Middle East who are experiencing a period of great "difficulty", in particular "Iraq" is a "very positive" signal because it is "important to talk about this situation" and "it gives us the strength to go forward", says Msgr. Emil Shimoun Nona, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, in the north, the second most important city in the country and first city to fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State.

Yesterday, the Synod devoted special attention to the Syrian and Iraqi Christians, victims of jihadist violence and the repercussions "on the family, disrupted by the death of its members [...] deprived of a future for young people [...] and for the older people, abandoned to themselves". For Iraqi Christians the presence "of our patriarch Sako and the other patriarchs" in Rome is vital, to talk about "the situation of refugees and "the challenges that they face".  Over time, warns the prelate," the spirit and the mood of the refugees is becoming more disheartened and desperate, because they do not see positive signs for a return home" in the near future.

Msgr. Nona was the first to raise the alarm on the danger posed by the advance of the Islamists after the conquest of Mosul, where about 500 thousand people - Muslims and Christians - have fled in early June to avoid being forced to convert to extremist Islam and where a caliphate was founded and sharia imposed.

In these hours, the Iraqi authorities have sounded the alarm, calling for military aid in the western province of Anbar, which could "soon" fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State (IS). Jihadists are attacking the provincial capital, Ramadi, and have captured large portions of land. The eventual fall of Anbar would give the IS possession of a large area between Syria and Iraq, setting up a direct supply line ahead of an assault on the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the ultimate goal of the terrorists.

The situation of tension and danger of the eventual fall of all Iraq into the hands of the Islamic state, is accompanied by the increasing difficulties faced by refugees (Christian and non) in the north of the country, particularly among those who have fled Mosul and the Nineveh plain. "Now people are desperate - says Msgr. Nona - and no longer believes in a return home, it is clear that the Islamic State is stronger than the coalition bombs". The prelate said the commitment of the Church and ecclesiastical personalities "to families who still live in tents, in schools, in classrooms and in the parishes".  He adds that the focus is to help them "live in a more humane way," and we are grateful "for the many donations that come from all over the world."

"We're looking for houses to rent - says the archbishop of Mosul - but it is impossible to find accommodation for all, so we are looking for other solutions." Msgr. Nona warns of the many risks, many challenges and difficulties experienced by the Iraqi Christian families torn from their land: "How is it possible to stick together - asks the prelate - and lead the everyday life of a family home, when you are in a tent in a public school or sharing an apartment with other families". Problems are emerging in terms of personal relationships, in the internal relationship of the couple and education of children, all the problems that accompany "serious economic difficulties." This is why priests "promote activities for children and young people, to help them play to forget, even for a few moments, the drama of war."

Finally, the archbishop of Mosul calls on the Synod in Rome to pay "attention to the difficulties experienced by families," looking at "different situations and different realities" elaborating "that is not a global one for everyone, but respecting the way of thinking and living of families around the world. "(DS)


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