22 March 2018

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05/16/2016 IRAQ

Patriarch Sako pleas for end to daily constant of Islamist violence

An attack yesterday on a factory killed 14 people, injuring another 20. 15 more victims in a series of attacks in the capital and surrounding areas. The Chaldean Patriarchate condemns attacks, which have become "a daily constant". The appeal to political and religious leaders for the promotion of a "culture of tolerance, love and peace."


Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The militias of the Islamic State (IS) have claimed responsibility for the suicide attack yesterday on a gas factory north of Baghdad, Iraq, killing at least 14 people and wounding twenty. The attack began with the explosion of three car bombs near the main entrance of the Taji plant, north of the capital.

Afterwards, six men with explosive belts stormed and ignited the gas in the tanks; only later the security forces were able to stop the attackers and regain control of the facility.

Yesterday’s attack on Taji, about 20km north of Baghdad started at dawn. The explosion of the three gas tanks f caused a violent fire; several workers employed in the structure are among the victims of the attack, caught up in the explosion along with some security personnel.

Also yesterday in a series of attacks in the capital and surrounding areas killed another 15 people.

The Islamic State militias control much of northern and western Iraq and in the last week, have unleashed a series of bloody attacks in the capital. On May 11, a series of car bombs exploded in Shia districts of the capital, killing at least 93 people. It was the most serious attack recorded in 2016 in Iraq, followed the next day by other explosions that caused new victims among the civilian population.

In a note sent to AsiaNews, the Chaldean patriarchate has "strongly condemned" the violence, which today have become "a daily" constant in the country. To the leaders of the Iraqi Church say the target  "is Iraq's cultural mosaic" and the idea of ​​"coexistence." Hence the invitation to the government, the political class and to all people of good will to work "for the safety and the lives of innocent citizens". Added to this they appeal for "urgent reforms" for the development of the nation at a time of deep political, economic and institutional crisis exacerbated by splits and internal divisions.

The document, signed by the Patriarch Mar Raphael Louis Sako is also a strong appeal "to the Muslim religious leaders" and "Christian clergy" to "unite their efforts" in promoting a "culture of tolerance, love and peace "against all" abuses "and" distortions" of the faith. "This co-operation - the statement concludes - will forcefully reject the wave of fundamentalism and sectarianism" associated with past crisis.

The Chaldean Patriarch’s appeal come at a time of deep crisis in Iraq, marked by internal division and an inability to form a new government. An impasse that has raised doubts on the capacity of the political and institutional leaders to fight the militias of the Islamic State which, after a period of difficulty, seems to be gaining new ground.

See also

09/06/2016 18:07:00 IRAQ
Mar Sako calls for Christian-Muslim unity to save Iraq from the madness of the Islamic State

Two years after the fall of Mosul, the Chaldean patriarch calls for brotherhood and sharing against "the struggle for power and money." The tragedy is the cause of "sadness, pain and anxiety" and “is eradicating the culture, history and memories” of local communities. Ramadan and Jubilee of mercy can be a source of “faith, patience and hope."

12/03/2018 14:31:00 IRAQ
Chaldean patriarchate mourns latest victims of anti-Christian violence in Baghdad

A young man and a family of three have been killed in the capital in the past few weeks. The Iraqi Church has urged people to pin a black ribbon on their chest as a sign of mourning. She has also appealed to the authorities to punish the culprits. For the speaker of Iraq’s parliament, attacks on Christians are a threat to "national unity". This afternoon, a memorial Mass will be held in St Joseph’s Church in Baghdad.

25/04/2017 15:29:00 IRAQ
Despite the danger of attacks, millions of Shia pilgrims visit the Imām Mūsā shrine

Masses of Shias commemorate the martyrdom of the seventh imam at the Al-Kādhimiya shrine, bringing the Iraqi capital to a standstill. Despite fears, no attacks or serious accidents have taken place. For the Chaldean Patriarch, the government has ensured “safe celebrations". The attempt to "national reconciliation" continues.

05/01/2018 14:16:00 IRAQ
Chaldean patriarch: Christmas clebrations in Mosul and Iraq, hope for Christians and Muslims

Millions of people took to the streets in Baghdad, Mosul, Najaf, Basra to celebrate. For the first time in three and a half years a Mass celebrated in the former Isis stronghold. The church cleaned up and arranged by young Muslims. The five challenges for the future of Iraq. And the Iraqi Churches’ duty to safeguard unity to protect the future of the community.

19/10/2016 09:37:00 IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch: May Iraq find peace and unity with the liberation of Mosul

The Christians of Qaraqosh, on the Nineveh Plain, celebrate the liberation of their town with Masses of thanksgiving, dancing and singing. Now in its third day, the Iraqi army and Peshmerga continues the offensive towards Mosul. The Islamic State use civilians as human shields. Mar Sako urges Iraqis to work for the birth of a "genuine and civil democracy".


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