Loading
Iraqi Christians suffer ‘paralyzing fear,’ Archbishop of Baghdad reports
Archbishop Jean Sleiman
Archbishop Jean Sleiman

.- Jean Sleiman, the Latin-rite Archbishop of Baghdad, recently spoke to an Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) event in Westminster, England, saying a “paralyzing fear” still grips Iraq’s Christian communities. The archbishop said “very real persecution” remains a threat alongside intense pressure to conform to rigorous Islamic standards, driving many Christians to leave the country.

The archbishop, a Lebanese Carmelite who pastors approximately 5,000 Latin-rite Catholics in Iraq, spoke of the situation in the country before a crowd of more than 400 at the Aid to the Church in Need UK’s annual Westminster Event this past Saturday.

Archbishop Sleiman said most Christians in Iraq still want to leave the country despite the decline of violence in and around Baghdad and the reconstruction efforts in Kurdish areas in the north. He said Baghdad, Mosul, and other regions remained hot-spots of persecution and violence against minority groups.

The Christian population numbered over one million before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, but is now barely 400,000.

“Emigration remains the dream of most people. The hope of emigration – even when it is not realistic – represents a kind of salvation for the people,” Archbishop Sleiman said.

“Very real persecution” remains a huge threat for Christians in some areas, he explained. In other regions “co-existence under pressure” means that Christians are forced to adopt Islamic practices, including dress and veil-wearing. Christians are also pressured to leave.

Even those seeking sanctuary in the Kurdish north of Iraq are suffering exploitation masked by generosity and good-will in the regional government’s church reconstruction projects.

The archbishop reported how the charity Caritas’ general director thanked a Kurdish official for building homes for displaced people from Baghdad.

The officer replied: “We did it for us [Kurds]. We know that you will leave and these houses will be ours.”

Instead of relocating Christians, Archbishop Sleiman said, “the best way to protect, not only Christians but all the citizens, is to bring back the state of law in Iraq.”

He also criticized plans for a Christian “enclave” around the Nineveh Plains, saying the scheme only promotes “a ghetto.”

The Iraqi government recently announced plans to remove the quota requirements for minority group seats in provincial councils, which could affect Christian representation.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
27

Liturgical Calendar

August 27, 2014

Saint Monica

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 23:27-32

Gospel
Date
08/27/14
08/26/14
08/25/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 2 Thess 3: 6-10, 16-18
Gospel:: Mt 23: 27-32

Saint of the Day

St. Monica »

Saint
Date
08/27/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 23:27-32

Homily
Date
08/27/14
08/26/14
08/25/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: