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In Iraq: 'Innocent people are dying'

March 12, 2010

In Iraq: 'Innocent people are dying' By PAULA DOYLE text only version The recent murder of eight Christians in Mosul, Iraq, a few weeks before the country's March 7 parliamentary elections has prompted Pope Benedict XVI, Iraqi bishops and a local Syriac Catholic priest to call for international solidarity on behalf of persecuted Iraqi minorities, especially Christians.

"Innocent people are dying, consumed by the fire of persecution," said Iraqi-born Father Yousif Habash, pastor of Jesus Sacred Heart (Antiochene Syriac) Catholic Church in North Hollywood. The priest, a native of Karkoch in northern Iraq near Mosul, says the Feb. 23 murder of the father and two brothers of an Iraqi priest is another tragic example of the area's escalating violence against Christians.

"In Mosul before [the U.S.-led Iraq invasion in 2003], there were notyousif habash the rivers of blood like today. Christians were not dying like insects," said Father Habash. Although he acknowledges that the Iraq's former dictator, Saddam Hussein, was very severe to all members of the Muslim-majority country, he points out that the harsh conditions were the same for everyone.

Now, he says, local Christians are targets since they are considered by many Muslims as an extension of the West. They are also caught between competing Muslim groups vying for power in Iraq's northern region. "We are in the middle of them, between the Sunni Arabs and the Kurdish" explained Father Habash. "From the beginning, Mosul was Christian," and families have lived there for 2,000 years, he pointed out. Although Christians in Mosul used to represent 35-40 percent of the population, their numbers are down to less than 10 percent because area violence has driven them to outlying Christian towns or out of the country.

He noted that Christian students in the region have been banned from attending the local university and seven college-age students have recently been killed. "Since 2003, there hasn't been any progress in Iraq. The electricity, water and power [infrastructure] are destroyed," said Father Habash, who hopes Americans will write their congressional representatives in support of enhanced protection for Iraqi religious minorities. On Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "deep sadness" over the tragic news of the recent Iraqi Christian killings.

The Holy Father said that during his prior weeklong spiritual exercises he followed with much concern the violence "perpetrated in the martyred land of Iraq, which have harmed defenseless persons of various religious affiliations. "I often prayed for all the victims of those attacks and today I would like to join myself spiritually in prayer for peace and the restoration of security promoted by the council of bishops at Nineveh," said the pope. "I exhort the internationademonstrationl community to do its best to give the Iraqis a future of reconciliation and justice." Syrian Catholic Archbishop Georges Casmoussa of Mosul told Vatican Radio Feb. 24 the region's Catholic and Orthodox bishops would hold a series of special prayer services in advance of the March 7 elections. And, as a protest to the recent killings, Iraqi bishops said they would not hold Masses in the city of Mosul March 14 in order to send a message to the government.

The Vatican nuncio to Iraq, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, told Vatican Radio Feb. 25 that "any attempt to decrease the Christian presence or worse, to destroy the Christian presence in Iraq would mean destroying the history of the Iraqi nation." He noted that all the Christian churches and Christian leaders in the country are involved in interreligious dialogue and are in constant contact with Muslim leaders. Archbishop Chullikatt stated that international solidarity is crucial for the survival of Iraq's minorities, "especially the Christians who are most exposed to the kind of violence taking place now, particularly in Mosul." CNS and ZENIT contributed to this story.





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Adar = March

In Iraq: 'Innocent people are dying' March. 12, 2010

Swedish parliament recognizes Assyrian genocide March. 12, 2010

The Iraqi refugee question March. 11, 2010

Fear Of Muslim Collective Punishment Grips Christian Villagers in Upper Egypt March. 8, 2010

Women, Equality and Islam March. 8, 2010

Iraqi Christians attacked ahead of Iraq election March. 8, 2010

Our American Passport attesting to our Iraqi birth was not good enough to let us vote March. 8, 2010

Trend continues against churches previously protected by Iranian government
March. 7, 2010

In defiance of terrorism against them ... Christians of Baghdad participated in the elections amid cheers. March. 7, 2010

Assyrians are being denied their right to vote not only in Iraq also in other countries March. 6, 2010

Christians continue to stream out of war-torn Iraq March. 5, 2010

Murders and Violence May Keep Assyrians Away From Polls in Iraq March. 4, 2010

Egyptian Court Acquits Muslim Who Beheaded a Christian March. 4, 2010

Muslim Rights and Wrongs March. 4, 2010

Letter to President Barack Obama and United States’ House of Representatives Committee March. 4, 2010

Iraq: Christians receive threats ahead of elections March. 4, 2010

Iraq: Militants arrested over Christian attacks March. 4, 2010 

Open letter to Barack Obama by the SOCIETY FOR THREATENED PEOPLES March. 3, 2010

Demonstration in Paris to protest the suffering of the Christians in Mosul March. 3, 2010

Dolabani was forbidden to teach his students Assyrian patriotism March. 3, 2010

Eshwat = February

Dolabani was forbidden to teach his students Assyrian patriotism Feb. 28, 2010

News Middle East; Iraq's Christians demand justice Feb. 28, 2010

Thousands of Assyrians demonstrated in the streets of Bgdida Feb. 27, 2010

Iraqi Government Accused of Complicity in Murders Feb. 27, 2010

Continued Killing of Christians in Mosul Feb. 25, 2010

Humanitarian emergency. Hundreds of Christian families fleeing violence In Iraq Feb. 24, 2010

Another Bloody Day for Christians in Mosul Feb. 24, 2010

Iraq: Vatican voices concern at Christian attacks Feb. 24, 2010


Gunmen kill three Christians in Iraq's north Feb. 23, 2010

Nothing Has Changed in Iraq Feb. 21, 2010

Another monstrous crime in Mosul against a Christian citizen Feb. 20, 2010

A Plague Of Politicians in Iraq Feb. 20, 2010

Iraqi Church Leaders: We Want to Speak with Common Voice Feb. 20, 2010

Fifth Assyrian Killed in a Week in North Iraq Feb. 18, 2010

NEWS ALERT: Up To 6 Christians Killed In Iraq Feb. 18, 2010

Spate of Christian killings before Iraq March vote Feb. 17, 2010

Killing and abduction of Assyrians in Iraq Feb. 17, 2010

Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in Iraq Feb. 15, 2010

January = Kanoon II

Christians killed in Mosul are in the areas where security forces and terrorists coordinate their tactics Jan, 19, 2010

Iraq: Mosul: targeted execution of Christians continues in media and government silence Jan, 19, 2010

Debate in the European Parliament about the plight of the christian of Iraq
Jan, 19, 2010

Iraq: Mosul, a Christian businessman killed as faithful celebrated new archbishopa Jan, 15, 2010

Thousands of Iraqi Refugees Overwhelm Community Service Agencies
in Detroit
Jan, 15, 2010

Christians Suffer from "Ethnic Cleansing" in Iraq Jan, 15, 2010

Attack on Egypt Copts Shows 'Intolerance': US Official Jan, 15, 2010 

Merry Christmas From the World of Islam Jan, 12, 2010

Pope condemns violence against Christians, immigrants Jan, 8, 2010

Iraqi Christians face desperate poverty Jan, 8, 2010

Christians of Iraq; Holy innocents caught up in an unholy war Jan, 3, 2010





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