The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Christians in Northern Iraq Reportedly Facing Intimidation

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

  Christians in Northern Iraq Reportedly Facing Intimidation

  ("," November 17, 2003)

  Christian communities in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are facing serious
  acts of intimidation, says Fides, the news agency of the Vatican
  Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

  "Last week a bomb was found in front of a Catholic school in Mosul; luckily
  it was defused before it could explode," Chaldean Catholic priest Father
  Nizar Semaan told Fides.

  "The bomb was a cluster of low [powered] hand grenades, but it could have
  killed or injured the children," he said. "For security reasons the school
  was closed for a good week."

  "Also last week a round from a Kalashnikov was fired against the residence
  of the Syro-Antiochian bishop in my city," the priest added. "This is
  probably the work of Wahabi extremists in Mosul." Wahabi Muslims are a
  puritanical sect from Saudi Arabia.

  "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," Father Semaan said. "In Mosul, in fact, work is being done to
  repair roads and public buildings such as schools and hospitals. The
  extremists want to impose their law of intolerance and violence in cities
  like Mosul, which have a long tradition of respect among religions and
  ethnic groups."

  Acts of violence against American troops have intensified in northern Iraq
  in recent weeks.

  "I do not know if there is any relation between those who attack the
  Americans and those who intimidate Christians," Father Semaan said. "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."

  He added: "In this regard I would give an example of how money is used to
  spread an Islamic vision of society. When I was at Mosul University in the
  1980s, girls wearing veils were about one in 40. 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 coexistence among followers
  of different religions," Father Semaan said. "We do not want Iraq to become
  another Lebanon."

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]