Iraq: Archbishop of Kirkuk Urges Christians to Stay
"We issue an appeal to all honest men of good will, that they reject these attacks and preserve the Christian presence in this historical city."
We also recounted the execution, on Monday, October 6, of Ziad Kamal, a 25-year-old disabled shop owner in the city. The young man owned a store in the neighborhood of Karama: he was taken by an armed group from inside his store and brought to a nearby spot, where he was shot to death. Also, on Saturday, October 4, two more men were barbarously assassinated in two other areas of Mosul: Hazim Thomaso Youssif, 40, was killed in front of the clothing store he owned, while 15-year-old Ivan Nuwya was shot to death in the neighborhood of Tahrir, outside of his house in front of the local mosque of Alzhara.
An anonymous source for AsiaNews in Mosul denounces the "systematic persecution" against the Christian community, the only desire of which is that of "living in peace," while for some time it has been the victim of "targeted executions" because of its "faith." The source refers to "the silence" in the local media and in the international community "about the martyrdom" being carried out against the Christians of Mosul and all over Iraq, and speaks of a "superficial solidarity," while in concrete terms there are no tangible steps demonstrating a clear desire to improve the situation.The most worrying fact is that the Islamic fundamentalists - to whom the recent attacks are attributed - seem to have taken aim at a precise segment of the Christian community: store owners and commercial activity in the northern Iraqi town. It is a clear sign that the terrorists intend to uproot the Christian community, destroy its economic activity, and force the population to leave.
Today, the archbishop of Kirkuk, Louis Sako, issued an appeal on behalf of Christians of Mosul, who are abandoning the city on account of the attacks in recent days. The following are the words of Archbishop Sako, head of the committee of Iraqi bishops for interreligious dialogue:
"Appeal to our brothers of the community of Mosul:
What is happening in the famous city of Mosul to Christian citizens, in terms of persecutions, kidnappings, threats, and killings, is deplorable and worrying. The level of civility, fraternity, and peaceful coexistence in the city of Mosul was exemplary. For this reason, the noble population of Mosul should not give in to people who perpetrate acts that violate the rights of peaceful and loyal citizens. This is also a violation of national unity, which is an essential factor above all at a time when our country is under occupation.
"The Christians of Iraq are native to this place, and have nothing to do with the plots in the country, nor do they know anything about what will happen in the future. They want nothing other than a dignified and peaceful life. They want to cooperate with all for the purpose of building stability for the good of the country and its citizens, as they have always done throughout history.
We issue an appeal to all honest men of good will, that they reject these attacks and preserve the Christian presence in this historical city. The prophet Mohammed urged 'fellowship.' This ideal is still valid, and applies to all Muslims."
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