Baghdad, Iraq, Nov 24, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Father Nizar Semaan, a Catholic priest from the city of Mosul, told the Fides News Agency this week that Christians in Iraq have not lost their faith despite the ongoing violence, and they are rebuilding “churches and chapels” destroyed during recent attacks.
Father Semaan said Christians who are still in Iraq “entrust our safety first of all to Divine Providence and we continue to pray for peace and national reconciliation in Iraq.” He also pointed out that Iraqis who left the country are sending monetary assistance to those who have remained in Iraq.
Referring to the situation in Mosul in northern Iraq, Father Semaan said, “The week was dramatic and very difficult for everyone here,” as “insurgents took control of most of Mosul in only 24 hours.”
He said that while some police officers have fought off assaults on police and army barracks, many others have fled leaving arms and equipment to the rebels. “The mayor of Mosul voiced harsh criticism of policemen who fled and praised those who stayed at their posts.”
Father Semaan told Fides that members of the National Guard, mostly made up of Kurds, “intervened to take control of the situation in Mosul. But now Arabs in the city are concerned about the presence of Kurds,” he said.
Regarding the situation in Karakosh, the town in which he resides, Father Semaan said the people have organized “a sort of civilian militia to control entries and prevent the infiltration of terrorists.” Karakosh has a population of 25,000, all of whom are Christian.