Catholic charity helps Iraqi refugees as civil war looms

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Catholic charity helps Iraqi refugees as civil war looms

By Marta Petrosillo and John Pontifex

People fleeing Mosul following the attacks by ISIS militants are to receive emergency help from Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), amid growing indications that the country may be heading towards civil war.

The grant of nearly £60,000 will provide food and shelter for many of the 3,000 Christians who fled Mosul in the wake of the city’s capture by Wahhabi militants the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The news comes as Auxiliary Chaldean Bishop Saad Sirop Hanna.

“We fear a civil war,” Bishop Sirop said. “If the various different opposing internal parties do not succeed in finding an agreement, then we must expect the worst. Another war would mean the end, especially for us Christians.”

Bishop Sirop also called for diplomatic pressure, especially from the US, to help reach an accord between the Sunni and Shiite leaders of Iraq.

“More than a week has passed since the invasion of Mosul by… ISIS and still there is no common political plan,” he said. “Only an Iraq based on consent and reconciliation within can react to external dangers. Shiites and Sunnis have to understand that nothing will be resolved by violence.”

The bishop said that the present crisis in Iraq is a direct consequence of the war of 2003 and of the inefficiency of the new democratic system which, he added: ‘cannot function if there is no true reconciliation.’

ISIS’s attack on Mosul began two weeks ago and, in its wake, half the population fled, including the city’s last remaining Christians, who as recently as 2003 numbered 35,000.

ACN’s Projects Director Regina Lynch said the situation was dire.

“More than ever, the Christians of Iraq need to know that the Christians in the rest of the world are not leaving them alone, but are praying for them and are also supporting them as much as they can,” she said.

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 09:22
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