Christian university students demand justice and security from Iraqi religious leaders
Mosul (AsiaNews) - An investigation into the massacre of last May 2 and the possibility of conducting examinations at the end of academic year in a safe place. These are the requests made by Christian students in the area of Mosul, during yesterday's meeting in Karakosh of the Council of Iraqi religious leaders. Meanwhile, a group of 24 university students victims of a double bombing near Mosul on May 2 last, have reached three different hospitals in Ankara, Turkey. This was a targeted attack against two buses carrying students from the town of Hamdaniya, 40 km east of the capital of the Nineveh province in northern Iraq. The blast left two dead and 188 wounded, some of whom are now being treated in Turkey.
Bishop Avvak Assadorian, Secretary General of the Council of religious leaders and the Armenian Orthodox Archbishop, gathered all bishops and Christian leaders in Iraq yesterday in Karakosh as "a sign of solidarity with the people after the attacks of last May 2”. The meeting was attended by Msgr. Jorjis Casmoussa, Syro-Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Mgr. Gregory Saliba, of the Syrian Orthodox Mgr. Gorguis Toma, of the Assyrians of Mosul, Mgr. Isaac Khamis, of the Assyrians of Dohok, Mgr. Msatti Mattoka, of the Syro-Catholics in Baghdad, Mgr. Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk and Fr. Najib Moussa, representing the bishops of the Latin rite.
In the garden, in front of the building which housed the Council of religious leaders hundreds of students had gathered. Among these, a small group of university students wounded in the attack of May 2. They submitted requests to the Christian leaders, stressing that "it is the duty of bishops to defend the faithful" and work to "ensure their future." In particular, the Christian students are asking the government to ensure they can"take their academic year-end exams in a safe environment” and for the “creation of a commission of inquiry" to investigate perpetrators and instigators of the attack on the buses. In addition to medical care for the wounded, the students also hope to see the opening of a university in Karakosh, where 1300 university students live, and to negotiate with the government of Kurdistan, "accommodation for the students for a period of one or two years", until the new structure is built.
The Iraqi bishops have promised to support the demands of the university students and place them before the government. After the meeting, the bishops issued a joint statement expressing "deep sorrow for the tragedy on Sunday, which caused two deaths and 188 injuries." "The attack on innocent Christian students - continue the bishops - who have nothing to do with politics is an abominable act." Christian leaders are appealing to the government to "take these attacks seriously" and put in place measures "to protect" them. They also express their desire for the formation of the new government “as soon as possible”. A government of" national unity capable of working for peace and reconciliation ", because any further delay will impact on civilian life in Iraq. The call to dialogue is also directed at "the authorities of Mosul and Nineveh, especially Arabs and Kurds," who must work together for the good of the province and its inhabitants. "
Finally, the bishops expressed their gratitude to those who "have shown their solidarity and helped the injured, the blood donors or those who have contributed to their transfer to hospitals," with a "special" reference to "the plane made available to transport a group of 24 students from Mosul to Ankara " currently being treated in three hospitals in Turkey.