Archive of November 20, 2003

Muslim fundamentalists attack Christian community in Iraq

Rome, Italy, Nov 20, 2003 (CNA) - The past week has seen numerous attacks by fundamentalist Muslims on Christians in Mosul in northern Iraq. “Last week a bomb was found in front of Catholic school in Mosul; luckily it was defused before it could explode. The bomb was a cluster of low potential hand grenades but it could have killed or injured the children. For security reasons the school was closed for a good week” local Chaldean Catholic priest Father Nizar Semaan in Mosul told Fides Service. “Also last week a round of kalashnikov was fired against the residence of the Syro-Antiochian Bishop in my city”.

Asked about the perpetrators of the terrorist activities, Father Nizar said, “This is probably the work of Wahabi extremists in Mosul. ““With these actions of intimidation extremists want to demonstrate their power, and what is more serious, to prevent the civil society from returning to normality.”

“All I can say is that Wahabi extremists were present under the regime of Saddam Hussein, although they kept a low profile. Now they are coming into the open, expanding their activity and recruiting more members. The Wahabi receive solid financial backing from abroad and it is easy for them to find new members among the many unemployed youths,” said Father Nizar.

He also said that Muslim extremists pay young people to assume Muslim practices.  “When I was at Mosul university in the 1980s girls wearing veils were about one in forty. Today we see the exact opposite: 40 veiled girls and one with a bare head! This is because fundamentalists pay girls to wear a veil ”.

“Those who have in hand the destiny of Iraq must not allow anyone to put an end to the tradition of tolerance and peaceful co-existence among followers of different religions. We do not want Iraq to become another Lebanon,” he concluded.

Meanwhile on behalf of the entire Christian population in Iraq, the Chaldean monks who live in the country have asked the Italian mission to remain in Iraq despite the attacks on their outpost in Nassiriya.  “With all our heart we are close to the families and we say thank you for all that the Italian military are doing, even giving their lives for the cause of peace and the good of the Iraqi people,” said Father Berjou Mansoor.  We hope the Italian army troops will stay in Iraq: we hope the Italian mission will continue, because they are working for the good of the people, especially the poorest of the poor.”

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Italy will not be intimidated by terrorist attack, says Cardinal Ruini

Rome, Italy, Nov 20, 2003 (CNA) - During funeral services for the 19 Italians who died in the attack on their post in Iraq last Wednesday, the Vicar of Rome and President of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Camilo Ruini, said Italy will not be intimidated by terrorist assassins.”  The Cardinal said Italians should not back down in the face of such attacks, but should “face them will the bravery, energy and determination of which we are capable.”

“But we will not hate them, we will seek to make them understand that Italy’s commitment, including its military participation, is geared toward the safeguarding and promotion of civilized coexistence in which the dignity of all is respected,” he said.

The coffins containing the 19 Italians were processed through the streets of Rome and more than 500,000 people came to pay their respects to their fallen countrymen.  President Carlo Ciampi and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as well as other political leaders, were present for the ceremonies.

The day on which funeral services were to be held was declared a National Day of Mourning, and factories, businesses and schools interrupted their day for a few moments of silence.  Media outlets also suspended commercial breaks.

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Catholic Media Declares "Theresa Schindler Schiavo Day"

, Nov 20, 2003 (CNA) - The Catholic Media Coalition has declared Nov. 30, 2003 Theresa Schindler Schiavo Day and has sought support from the U.S. bishops in this effort.

The day is aimed at bringing attention to the plight of the severely disabled Florida woman whose estranged husband continues to seek her death by starvation through the courts.

Schiavo “has become a unifying symbol for the disabled, the abandoned, and those persons for whom society has no use,” said Catholic Media Coalition President Mary Ann Kreitzer.

The 39 year-old woman, “rendered cognitively disabled from an undetermined cause, embodies the characteristics of persons whose lives appear to lack quality, whom a pagan society would willingly eliminate through court-ordered euthanasia," she said.

Kreitzer says the Schiavo case is purposefully being used to further the cause of physician-assisted suicide and to bring euthanasia “within the legal boundaries of the Constitution under the same ruse of privacy rights that are employed to kill the pre-born.”

In a letter to the U.S. bishops, Kreitzer urges them to proclaim strongly and publicly the Church's teaching regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The bishops must also teach about the moral requirements of care for sick, terminally ill and disabled individuals, she said.

"Catholics need to know that food and water, no matter in what form they are delivered, are the God-given right of all persons,” she said. “The removal of nutrition/hydration with the subsequent intent to cause death … is strictly forbidden by Catholic moral teaching."

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Dead Israeli men may father children

Jerusalem, Israel, Nov 20, 2003 (CNA) - In a bizarre decision, Israel's Attorney-General Eliyakim Rubinstein has issued legal guidelines giving Israeli widows the right to harvest their dead husband's sperm for fertility treatment, reported

Only when a husband specifically indicated, during his lifetime, that he would not want this done after his death would a widow's request not be acted upon.

"In a situation where a partner is interested in having a child with the sperm of the deceased it is appropriate to allow her to do so," Rubinstein said. The directive also pertains to men who were in common law relationships.

Under the guidelines, once a woman requests sperm from a dead partner the fertility clinics would be authorized to harvest the dead man's sperm immediately, determining only after the harvesting whether or not the man refused to take part in the scheme while he was alive.

Doctors say immediate action is necessary since they have only 24 to 36 hours after death to harvest sperm, which can then be frozen.

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Chewable contraceptive pills aimed at young girls get FDA approval

Washington D.C., Nov 20, 2003 (CNA) - The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued its approval of a spearmint-flavored chewable contraceptive tablet Nov. 14.

Ovcon 35 contains a progestin (norethindrone) and an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) found birth-control pills that are already on the market. The new drug then is abortifacient and carries the same side effects as other oral contraceptives, including an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, stroke, breast and cervical cancer.

The product is manufactured by Bristol Myers Squibb Company and will be marketed by Warner Chilcott, Inc.

Gillian Long, the youth director of Campaign Life Coalition objects to the drug and says the new chewables are obviously aimed at youth, the same way that chewable multi-vitamins are geared toward children, except these are much more dangerous.

“And here we are, marketing it to young girls and handing it out as though it were, literally, candy,” she said. “It may prove to be the most dangerous candy ever."

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