Save Iraq Christians, Bishop appeals

Lamenting that the Church in Iraq is disappearing under continued persecution, the Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk has launched a new appeal for unity between people in Iraq.

The Archbishop made the comments in his appeal on behalf of Iraqi Christians sent to AsiaNews.

"We cannot remain silent any longer, people must be made aware that an Iraq without Christians is of no benefit to the nation, we need unity between people, otherwise there will be no escape," he said.

"In Iraq Christians are dying, the Church is disappearing under continued persecution, threats and violence carried out by extremists who are leaving us no choice: conversion or exile," he said.

Archbishop Sako who is president of Iraq's Council of Catholic Churches' Committee for inter-religious dialogue, denounced the "tragic situation of Baghdadi Christians" facing the threat of armed violence unless they convert to Islam or leave the country.

According to Archbishop Sako, a similar situation exists in Mosul, but with a different "choice": pay a monetary tribute to the Jihad if they want to avoid their death.

The Iraqi Christian community, at home and abroad, has long urged the local Church to take a stand against the forced evacuation, rape, kidnap, paying a ransom, blackmail, scarring and killing they suffer and the complete lack of protection from the local government and coalition forces, AsiaNews says.

And in the last two days, as the controversial plan to install a secure zone for Christians in the Niniveh plain begins to take shape, the terrorists have begun targeting the zoned area.

"It's almost a political as if to say: 'we can hit anywhere, nowhere is safe'".

The confessional based attacks are no longer just restricted to Baghdad and Mosul, but now target small centres in the North.

Earlier this week, a group of fundamentalists executed 23 yazidi on the road linking Mosul to Ba'ashika, a majority Christian village: they stopped a bus and after having made Arabs and Christians alight they killed the faithful of this ancient religion, based on the strong Good-Evil dualism.

Yesterday a car bomb exploded close to a school in Tell-el-skop, a Christian village, and 9 people died including 2 children; 60 were wounded. A convent of Dominican nuns, which is nearby, was badly damaged in the blast.

Bishops appeal: Save Iraq’s Christians! (AsiaNews, 23/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Louis Sako (Catholic-Hierarchy)

Benedict blasts Iraq slaughter (CathNews, 10/4/07)
Iraq Christians taxed for their religion (CathNews, 20/3/07)
Official highlights bleak outlook for Iraq (CathNews, 27/2/06)
Bishops see US 'at a crossroads in Iraq' (CathNews 16/1/06)
British cardinal prays for Iraq peacemaker hostages (CathNews 13/12/05)
Priests say Iraqi Christians now victims of extortion (CathNews 8/11/05)

24 Apr 2007

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