Iraq : Archbishop Moussa warns fanatics still dream of removing Christians

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Iraq : Archbishop Moussa warns fanatics still dream of removing Christians

By Fionn Shiner/zenit.org

More than three years on from the defeat of Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq are as determined as ever to rid their towns and cities of Christians – according to a senior bishop, who has warned of a surge in extremism.

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Najeeb Michaeel Moussa of Mosul and Akra told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the extremist mindset means many Mosul Christians displaced by ISIS are too afraid to go back.

He said: “The fanatical ideology continues to reign in many minds, and some people are still dreaming of driving all the Christians out of their historical dwelling places.”

He added: “The greatest fear, and one which prevents Christians from returning to their former homes in Mosul, is that of seeing the renewed growth of extremism.”

According to the archbishop, Christians and other religious minorities need “the disappearance of the extremist mentality” that is heavily embedded in the Iraqi establishment.

He added: “The separation of politics and religion would be a blessing, and could certainly ease the Calvary that the Christians have been so painfully enduring ever since the seventh century.”

Archbishop Moussa said that Christians wanted to live in an Iraq where they are treated with respect and not persecuted for their religious beliefs.

He said: “The hope of the Christians is to be able to live in peace in their own country on the basis of equality of rights and duties, on exactly the same basis as the other Iraqis and not as second-class citizens.

The archbishop said Christians need equal opportunities at work and that some jobs are not open to them.

He said: “The Christians are also demanding the right to equality of the gender with regard to matters of inheritance, marriage, freedom of religion and so forth.

But he added: “Personally, I am optimistic regarding the future of the Christians in Nineveh and in Iraq. Through education and culture, we can overcome obscurantism and violence.”

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 14:22
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