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Archive for August, 2009

Louis Sako

Louis Sako

 

Source : Catholic News Agency
 

Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, has said that Iraqi Christians are facing “bad days” as “ineffective” security cannot prevent criminality and violence targeting Christian minorities. Many of the Christians who remain are in such fear that they too want to leave Iraq, he said.

 The future of Christianity in Iraq, even in the short term, now “hangs in the balance,” Archbishop Sako said in a phone interview with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

 Christians lack the protection of militia and have become “easy targets” for criminals, he reported.

Violence and the lack of jobs and services have encouraged many Christians to leave. There are now only 300 Christian families in southern Iraq and less than 400,000 Christians in Iraq as a whole. Within the past decade, their numbers have declined by 750,000.

 In the northern city of Mosul, a former Christian heartland, many Christian families are “too afraid to come back.”

At one point in the interview, Archbishop Sako warned of rising extremism.

 “Iraq is going to a narrow form of Islam,” he commented.

 “I feel more pessimistic now than ever before. We do not have the same hope that we had before,” he told ACN. “In fact I am not seeing any signs of hope for the future. Our whole future hangs in the balance.

 “We are experiencing bad days. Every group involved in criminal activity seems to be active.”

 Archbishop Sako called Iraq’s security system “ineffective” and “unprofessional.”

 “The government and the police are doing their best but they are incapable of controlling the situation,” he reported, saying that Christians are generally being attacked not because they are Christian but because they are seen to be defenseless.

Even one crime, abduction or killing makes the whole community want to move, he reported.

 The archbishop spoke from Kirkuk, ten days after a Christian father of three was shot dead and a doctor was abducted on his way home in the city.

 The turmoil is not localized to one part of Iraq.

 “Every day, there are explosions – in Baghdad, Mosul, so many different places,” he added.

 In July, militants attacked seven churches in Baghdad, killing and injuring dozens. Last week nearly 100 were killed in a series of attacks.

 “Living in this climate, the Christian people are afraid. They are really worried. Despite what we tell them, encouraging them to stay, they want to leave,” Archbishop Sako said.

 He reported that the people have lost patience with the country’s politicians. The prelate also called on Western countries to pressure Iraqi political groups to reconcile and try to reduce conflict and restore law and order.

 “There can be no proper security without a real reconciliation. The only people who seem to be benefiting from the situation at the moment are the criminals. This has got to change,” he explained.

 Archbishop Sako noted the crucial importance of interfaith work for coexistence between Christians and Muslims. While the archbishop is involved in initiatives in Kirkuk, such as hosting a Ramadan dinner this weekend, they are generally not replicated elsewhere in the country.

 The work is small scale and involves individuals rather than the large groups crucial for attitude changes.

Church leaders and Christian politicians are also not doing enough to cooperate to confront common problems, Archbishop Sako told ACN.

 

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Rio Grande (US-Mexico Boarders)
Rio Grande (US-Mexico Boarders)

 

By Todd Bensman

 

PEARSALL, Texas — One fled the Iraqi city of Irbil when militant Islamists threatened his life for befriending local Christians. Another bolted from Kirkuk after the murder of his father and kidnapping of a brother for past ties to Saddam Hussein’s government. A third took flight after angering extremists by resisting a local cleric’s call to jihad.

 So go the stories of three Iraqi Kurds who fled their homeland and, after a long journey through Mexico and a quick swim across the Rio Grande, are now languishing inside a federal lockup in this small South Texas town.

The journeys of Wshyar Mohammed-Salih, Majeed Aziz-Beirut and Awat Mahmood-Qadir exemplify the rarely examined phenomenon of the illegal movement of Iraqis over the U.S.-Mexico border since the 2003 American invasion.

In the Pearsall lockup, Wshyar, Majeed and Awat found three of their countrymen already there, and many other Iraqis have passed through these gates, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The men say they paid a Turkish smuggler $20,000 apiece to secure Mexican visas and airfare that would get them within striking distance of the Rio Grande. Court records say they floated across on March 12 north of McAllen. Five months later, they are waiting for a chance to ask a judge for political asylum.

The number of Iraqis showing up legally and forming small communities in American cities has been well-noted, but much less attention is paid to Iraqis who steal over the border.

“I know America has brought a lot of Iraqis here to live,” Majeed said. “I want to be one of them.”

The exact number is not known, though statistics indicate the stream is small but steady. U.S. Border Patrol apprehension numbers obtained by GlobalPost show that about 200 Iraqis have been caught crossing between 2003 and 2008. That doesn’t account for those who got through and were either never caught or got caught later. The Department of Homeland Security reports having located 964 deportable Iraqis in the U.S. between 2003 and 2008. Some 2,278 Iraqis petitioned for asylum during that time.

Captured Iraqi border crossers rarely grant interviews, but the undocumented trio in Pearsall agreed to share their stories with a GlobalPost reporter through an interpreter. Their tales open a rare window on why and how Iraqis in twos and threes continue to emerge dripping from the Rio Grande when circumstances in Iraq are said to be improving.

Escape hatch

Rising religious and political tensions in Iraq’s predominantly Kurdish north and an almost implacable backlog of refugees waiting for legal resettlement, left Wshyar, Majeed and Awat feeling they had only one recourse: go without permission.

Dressed in dark blue detention facility jumpsuits, each man told a story that involved direct threats to their lives or families they left behind, including wives and children. GlobalPost could not independently corroborate their stories, although FBI officials said the men have been cleared of any known connection to terrorism or insurgents.

Wshyar, a 43-year-old carpenter-turned-taxi driver, said he fled Irbil when militant Islamists threatened to kill him and his four young children for befriending Christians. He put his wife and children in hiding, quickly sold a family home at a discount to raise the smuggling fee and left.

Majeed, a 29-year-old unmarried owner of a small pet shop, said he left his hometown of Kirkuk after the murder of his father and the kidnapping of a still-missing brother for, he suspects, his father’s past work in Saddam Hussein’s security apparatus.

Awat, a 26-year-old electronics salesman and newlywed, said he took flight from Irbil when threatened with death for rejecting a local cleric’s exhortations to attack U.S. and British troops.

Each also noted that local police and security forces were not capable or willing to protect them. Two of the Iraqis didn’t bother asking. Wshyar said he did ask for police protection from the extremist cleric in Irbil, “but they wouldn’t do anything.”

In choosing the U.S. over other destinations, Wshyar said conventional street wisdom held that America offered amazing promises. He hoped America would welcome him with open arms and then he would bring his family over.

“I was obsessed with the idea of coming to America,” he said. We weren’t thinking of just a job and money. We’re just looking for peace for our families. Life isn’t just about money. It’s about feeling safe.”

Their stories are not unfathomable, given recent developments in the Kurdish region of Iraq. For much of the war, the Kurdish north had remained comparatively tranquil. Security had been left mostly to friendly Kurdish paramilitary forces who managed a relative peace. But that situation has changed in the last year.

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80 years old Priest is missing in mysterious circumstances!!

80 years old Priest is missing in mysterious circumstances!!

Source: Ankawa.com

ankawa.com have learned from reliable sources that ongoing search for the priest “Shamoon Youkhana” of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East, who was reported missing on Tuesday 18th of August. the sources reported that the priest is 80 years old, and it’s believed that he has been kidnapped by an unknown people.

worthy to mention, that he was disappeared in Nahla, a village near Aqra district, that is under the Kurdish Authority in the northern region of Iraq….any development will occur will be published on our blog.

FA ME

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Digging Moats around Christian Villages

Digging Moats around Christian Villages

 

Digging Moat

Digging Moat

 

Another Moat Site

Another Moat Site

 

Source: ISHTAR SATELLITE CHANNEL

After the terrorist bombings of the villages and towns of the Nineveh Plain, and the latest terrorist bombing, which killed dozens of people and hundreds wounded in the village of Khazna near Bartalah which was inhabited by a majority of (Shabak).

Nineveh Operations Command ordered digging dirt trenches and moats around the Christian villages of the Nineveh plain to protect the churches and monasteries from terrorist bombings. The Operations of Nineveh started to dig a trench around the town of Krmless on Friday.

It has four major enterance prots corresponding to major street running between the city of Mosul and Qaraqoush and three other outlets overlooking the fields and farmlands, which surrounding the village.

 

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Refugees are Beaten by Police

Refugees are Beaten by Police

By: FA ME
 
Danish police have used force to evict 17 Iraqi men from a Copenhagen church where they had sought refuge.

 Five protesters from a crowd who tried to prevent the police moving in were also arrested during the operation.

 Clashes broke out between the protesters and police on Wednesday night as the Iraqis were put on a bus outside Brorson’s Church.

 Danish media say Denmark and Iraq have established a legal framework for the repatriation of failed asylum seekers.

 An Iraqi delegation is to visit Denmark later this month to help identify the evicted Iraqis, who had been sheltering at the Protestant church in the capital’s Noerrebro district since May, the Politiken news website reports.

 

 Arguments rage

 Denmark’s former Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen accused police of having “ignored human decency” by raiding the church to oust the Iraqis.

  But Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen, quoted by Politiken, defended the police action.

 “I think we would have preferred not to have to use force,” he said.

 “But we happen to live in a democratic society which is built on people abiding by the country’s laws and rules and there’s no special treatment just because you occupy a church.”

 Besides the 17 arrested in the church, two more Iraqis – apparently connected to the group – were arrested later when they turned up at a police station.

 The Iraqis and their families have been denied asylum in Denmark. They are to be returned to Iraq, but were hoping to avoid that by hiding in the church.

 About 30 Iraqis had settled in the basement of the church, but were woken up by the police banging on the church door at night, demanding it be opened.

 “Within 30 seconds, 30 officers or so had entered the church and blocked all the exits,” said 28-year-old Misja Krenchel. She spent the night there as a volunteer for the organisation Church Asylum, which supports the Iraqis’ fight to stay in Denmark.

 “People were panicking as the police entered the church,” she remembered.

 The Iraqis gathered around the altar holding chairs and candlesticks, hoping to defend themselves against the police.

   “I am shocked by what has happened… It is a violation of our sacred room”  said Pastor Per Ramsdal of Brorson’s Church

 “Our intention was to find a peaceful solution to the situation,” said Flemming Steen Munch, spokesperson for the Copenhagen police.

 For two hours, the atmosphere in the church was tense, but fighting was avoided. Ms Krenchel and another Dane staying with the Iraqis tried to calm the situation down, but at least one of the Iraqis threatened to commit suicide.

 Eventually, the Iraqis gave in, crying and saying goodbye to their wives and children. All 17 men were arrested and taken from the church to an asylum centre.

 Denmark’s Minister of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs, Birthe Roenn Hornbech, says an agreement has been struck with the Iraqi authorities over returning more than 250 Iraqi citizens – even if it is against their will.

 However, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki denies that such an agreement exists.

 The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Amnesty International have criticised the Danish government’s plan to send the Iraqi refugees home. They argue that the situation is still too unstable in several regions.

 Nevertheless, the first six Iraqis were sent back to Iraq in late June and another seven followed on Thursday.

 According to Pastor Per Ramsdal of Brorson’s Church, this is the first time the Danish authorities have entered a church to arrest people. His church has been left in a mess – and he is in shock.

 “I am shocked by what has happened – and by the way it has happened. It is a sad day for our country, the society and the Danish church. It is a violation of our sacred room,” he explained.

 In Copenhagen, a demonstration is taking place on Thursday evening in sympathy with Iraqis. A huge crowd is expected.

 

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A man navigates the scene of an attack in Khazna, where twin truck bombs killed at least 35 people.

A man navigates the scene of an attack in Khazna, where twin truck bombs killed at least 35 people.

 

Azzaman, August 9, 2009

 Attacks on Iraqi Christians and Muslim Shiites are on the rise, particularly in the northern city of Mosul.

 Mosul is predominantly Sunni Muslim but it is also home to large communities of Christians and Shiites mainly Shebeks and Tukmen.

 Conditions are tense in Mosul as both Arab Sunnis and Kurds have fallen out over territorial control and political representation in the provincial council.

 The Kurds have lost their majority and as a result are working to administer their own areas by themselves.

 As the sides battle over political, territorial and administrative issues, attacks on Christian and Shiite minorities have increased.

 Bearing the brunt of these attacks are the Shiites in the Province of Nineveh of which Mosul is the capital.

 The Shiites are neither Kurds nor Arabs but have allied themselves with the Shiite factions currently ruling the country.

 They mainly live in villages and towns to the north and west of Mosul.

 In the latest attack 31 Shiite Turkmen were killed and 71 wounded in a car bombing attack on Shreekhan, a village to the north west of Mosul.

 There was also an attempt to blow up a house of a Christian family in which two people were injured

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Bombed Church (Archive)

Bombed Church (Archive)

By: FA ME

Ankawa com received the extensive details about the targeting, which happened to a Christian family living in Al-Darkazlia in the left side of the city of Mosul. The attack took place at 3:30 on Thursday afternoon, the 6th of August 2009. Unknown men placed a device of sticker bomb on the house door of the Christian family consisting of “Yasser Yousif” (42 years) and his seventy some years old mother who’s suffering from cancer.

 The explosion caused serious injuries on the head and the hands of “Yasser” and his mother’s hands and feet, it also damaged their home. Forces of the Iraqi arm forces surrounded the area and evacuated the injured “Yasser” and his mother to hospital for treatment. “Yasser” is still in the hospital but his mother was released from the hospital after receiving proper treatment and is being taking care of by a relative who lives next to the bereaved family.

 This attack represents the fourth one of its kind in a series that have targeted Christians during the last few weeks in Mosul. A car bomb exploded in front of the the Virgin Fatima church which killed a young man. “Alaa Bashir”, the son of our people was abducted and is still being held despite the passage of two weeks since the abduction.

 

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