.- 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.”