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Iraqi Bishops in Rome : Don’t Forget Us

ICC Note

“We feel a little isolated, forgotten, unfortunately. The Christians have left the country and the others, who have stayed, wait without much hope in the future. They live with worries about their children, for their future, for their houses, for their jobs.”

01/25/2009 Iraq (Zenit.org)-There is a “deafening silence” in the international community about the plight of Iraqi Christians, attest prelates from the wartorn country.

The bishops, in Rome for their five-yearly meeting with the Pope, spoke with Vatican Radio about the situation their flocks are facing back home and they appealed to the world not to forget.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk and Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Babylon spoke about the deafening silence regarding the situation of Iraqi Christians and lamented that they were powerless to stop the mass exodus of Christians from the country.

Before 2003, there were 800,000 Christians in an Iraqi population of 25 million. But in the last five years, the conditions of life and anti-Christian violence have forced half of the Christian population to leave their homes.

Lending a hand

Syrian Catholic Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka of Baghdad said the situation is such that one presumes there is “a plan to make Christians leave the Middle East .”

Leaving a mess

Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul contended that after the arrival of American troops, the country’s problems “increased a hundredfold.”

“But,” he said, “the Americans are not the problem […] The real problem of the different communities in Iraq is the negation of the other.”

Archbishop Sako added: “We feel a little isolated, forgotten, unfortunately. The Christians have left the country and the others, who have stayed, wait without much hope in the future. They live with worries about their children, for their future, for their houses, for their jobs.”

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