Muslims Identify Christians as Western Enemies
AGHDAD/MOSUL, Iraq, JAN. 14, 2005
(Zenit.org).- Being a Christian, "of the same religion as the
Western soldiers," is enough to be the considered an enemy in
Iraq, says a Chaldean monk. Father Waheed Gabriele Tooma's
statement was echoed by Fides news agency, recalling the
recent incident involving two Chaldean monks of the Dora
monastery south of Baghdad, kidnapped a few days ago by
unknown individuals and released two days later.
"flourishing industry of kidnapping knows no end," the agency
reported. The targets of religious Muslim fundamentalism are
foreigners, wealthy Iraqis -- because of the ransom --, and
religious personnel, especially Christians.
Tooma, religious brother of the kidnapped monks, said to Fides
that "Iraq is a nation that dies every day, and not only
because of lack of food and medicines. It dies morally and
culturally, deprived of its identity, freedom, and right to
live in peace as the other nations of the earth. The path of
this nation is dark; it seems to be without a future. Children
die no sooner they are born, without a smile."
situation from which the people flee. "More than 3 million
have emigrated abroad, among them, Christians," he said.
"Only in the last months, after the attack on the
Christian Churches, more than 50,000 Iraqi Christians have
emigrated to Syria, Jordan, and Turkey, because of the threats
received by Muslim fundamentalists. What is the offense? Being
Christians, that is, of the same religion as the Western
On Dec. 7, two attacks destroyed the
Armenian-Catholic church of Mosul and the Chaldean Episcopal
Palace of that city. They were part of a series of attacks
against churches which began in early August, when four
churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul were hit. Dozens of
Christians died in these attacks. Attacks against stores owned
by Christians in Iraq started earlier.
From Mosul, the
Dominican Sisters of the Presentation recently confirmed, in a
statement sent to ZENIT, that the situation of danger for
Christians is such that many have been obliged to emigrate "to
Syria or Jordan, and have left all their property to save
The nuns' house in the Iraqi city is
located in an area between "the Americans, on one side, and
the terrorists on the other," which means a constant danger
that impedes them for days from leaving the convent, even to
go to Mass.
Despite the problems, the sisters are not
thinking of leaving, given that, as they affirmed, "we are
here, in this neighborhood, our neighborhood, and we will stay
to witness to Christ crucified but risen from the dead."
The congregation has seven communities in Iraq, in
which some 40 religious work in education and run residences
for young people, children's homes, and health centers such as
St. Raphael's Hospital in Baghdad.