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ICC Note: A gathering of Iraq’s church leaders identified a number of the most pressing concerns that face Iraq’s Christians. First, was their desire to see their homelands on the Nineveh plain liberated from the control of ISIS jihadists. This allows for families to return home, but until that occurs finding employment and education are crucial for families remaining in Iraq rather than leaving the country altogether.

11/07/2014 Iraq (Asia News) – Fielding “all possible efforts” at every level, “local and international” for the “liberation of the Nineveh plain” and allowing displaced Christians return to their homes. Moreover, efforts to “find jobs” for the unemployed and provide “schools” for students to ensure their education and future. These are the major issues that have emerged from the emergency meeting of the representatives of the Catholic Churches of Iraq, recently held in the summer seat of the Chaldean Patriarchate in Ankawa, a predominantly Christian suburb north of Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.

The meeting headed by His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, and attended by the Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Giorgio Lingua and a group of prelates, including the archbishop of Mosul, Msgr. Amel Nona. The patriarch and bishops aimed to “join efforts” to provide “suggestions and guidlines” that can help “our children” to lead “a decent life”.

The leaders of the Iraqi Church in the first place commented on the “miracle” so far that has allowed them to ensure housing, shelter and comfort to hundreds of thousands of displaced people fleeing the troops of the Islamic State that has conquered large swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria. In particular the bishops thanked, “the Pope for his encouragement,” his “statement” of support and solidarity, as well as “material aid and all that has been done by the Holy See” for the country and throughout the Middle East.

Stable employment, long-term housing and schools in order to continue education for young people are still today, months after the beginning of the crisis, the priorities that Church leaders must confront and resolve to secure the future of the Christian community in Iraq.

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