"Christians at risk", the Pope’s alarm

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"Christians at risk", the Pope’s alarm

By Giacomo Galeazzi

A "Hail Mary" for Iraq in flames. At the Angelus on Monday June 16, the Pope invited the faithful to pray "for the dear nation of Iraq" and in particular for "the multitude of people, including many Christians, who have had to leave their homes."

He expressed "deep concern" hoping for "a future of reconciliation and justice" for a land that has seen Abraham, the father of the three monotheistic religions, open a new era of humanity.

It was to start from Ur of the Chaldeans, the Jubilee for Karol Wojtyla, who first warned the West on military intervention in the Gulf, just like nine months ago Bergoglio opposed the US raid on Syria, where due to the civil war and to advanced extremist groups such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant the influence of radical Islam has increased and consequently the persecutions against the Christians.

The kidnapping of the Sisters of Maalula (the ancient city where they still speak Aramaic), and the mass graves in Sadad are infinite “Stations of the Cross”. Many Christians were forced to flee to Lebanon and other neighboring countries to the point that, after more than three years of civil war in Syria, Christians make up 5 per cent of the population. They were 15% before the outbreak of the revolt against Assad.

In Egypt as well, Christians have come under attack, particularly after the dismissal of former President Mohamed Morsi, who came to power in 2012 after the electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood. After the intervention of the armed forces who arrested Morsi, the attacks against Christians, as confirmed by the expert committee appointed by the National Council for Human Rights to take stock of the situation of the Copts in the country.

The members of the religious minority suffer many forms of violence, especially in the governorates of Luxor, Sohag and Aswan. The document speaks of kidnappings, fires set to the houses of the Copts, vandalism against their shops, obstacles to the practice of their religious rites. But the situation for Christians is especially dramatic in Iran and Iraq, where today the Chaldeans represent only 1% of the population. Here Christians came under attack in Baghdad on Christmas Day (37 deaths).

The case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim has shaken the conscience, but the dramatic story of a 2- year-old Sudanese Christian sentenced to death for apostasy is just the tip of the iceberg and turns the spotlight on the conditions under which Christians live in dozens of African and Asian countries. According to a recent report by the American NGO “Open Doors”, in the last year persecutions against Christians have increased globally, particularly in Africa. In the north-east of Nigeria (the "most dangerous country for Christians") the massacres by extremist group Boko Haram multiply.

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 10:10
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