10/07/2013, 00.00
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Kurdistan Archbishop : We welcome Syrian refugees as our brothers and sisters

For Msgr . Rabban al- Qas, Archbishop of Amadiyah - Zakho , those fleeing Syria must be accepted and treated as a family member. The diocese hosts more than 20 refugee families , who by now are already part of the community.

Amadiyah (AsiaNews) - "We welcome Syrian refugees to our homes, because we want to give them a testament to the universality of the Church and the message of love of Christianity", says Msgr . Rabban al- Qas, Chaldean bishop of the diocese of Amadiyah - Zakho , one of the areas of Iraqi Kurdistan, which in recent months has welcomed more than 20 thousand people fleeing from the horrors of war in Syria.

"Most of them - says the prelate - have lost everything : family, friends , their homes , and many also hope to return. I invited the faithful of the diocese to host their Syrian brothers and sisters in their homes , because they do not have to feel foreign , avoided or marginalized, but welcomed . " The fruits of this approach based on love of neighbor have already emerged . A village situated near the border has hosted more than 20 Christian families , who have integrated into the local community . " In August, - says the bishop - I gave first communion to many children born of Syrian refugees.  The entire diocese took part in this celebration by offering money, food , gifts for these families."

Msgr. al- Qas states that "this type of bond between peoples of different ethnic origins and language is never taken for granted in these areas ." Syria is Arabic-speaking , while in Iraqi Kurdistan the most widely spoken languages ​​are Kurdish and Aramaic . Often, the families who flee have always been accustomed to communicating in their own language and they tend to isolate themselves from the rest of the population. The most recent episode of this growing unity was the marriage of George and Nour , two young Syrians who arrived in Kurdistan along with their relatives . " The young couple - continues the Chaldean archbishop - joined in marriage in front of the whole Christian community of the village that hosts them. For us it was a day of celebration and joy dedicated to these two young people. In my homily I reiterated that languages ​​and cultures are not an obstacle to see the love of God, manifested in these small gestures. Whoever arrives in our villages is our brother , not a stranger. " (S.C.) 


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