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Church in Iraq fears new campaign of “religious cleansing”

ICC Note

“It would be a disaster if the Christians were forced to be segregated and cut off from those with whom they have made their home for so long.”

Jan 10, 2008 Iraq (CNA).- New fears of an organized campaign to flush Christianity out of Iraq have been sparked by the recent attacks on churches in leading Iraqi cities.

Concerns about a new “religious-cleansing” drive were raised by sources close to the Church reeling from Sunday’s (January 6) coordinated bomb-blasts on at least six church buildings in Mosul and Baghdad .

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ACN’s sources see Iraq becoming increasingly divided along sectarian lines, with Sunni and Shia Muslim extremists trying to expel Christians from their respective spheres of control.

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The bishop said that the bombings would discourage Christians from returning to Baghdad and Mosul and encourage yet more emigration of the remaining Christians, which he said was continuing even before the attacks.

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He called on Christians in the West to pray for the Church in Iraq . “We need the consolation of your prayers,” he said. “Through your prayers, we can draw strength from one another.”

Marie-Ange Siebrecht, head of ACN Projects in Iraq , said: “In most of the news on Iraq , we never hear about the Christians. Iraqi Christians belong to Iraq . They are part of the community, living side-by-side with people of a different faith.

“It would be a disaster if the Christians were forced to be segregated and cut off from those with whom they have made their home for so long.”

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