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Iraq: Christians demand justice over Muslim persecution

Christians to conduct a peaceful march in protest in Mosul, as the Syro-Catholic archbishop of Mosul demands justice. Christians are fleeing daily murders.

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 Sunday, February 28th, will be a special day for the Christian community of Mosul: "Bishops, priests, religious, and lay people will be marching in a peaceful and silent march, in protest against the daily massacre suffered by the Christian community and is met with indifference from the authorities," Fides is told by Archbishop Georges Casmoussa, Syrian-Catholic Archbishop of Mosul.

"The march will take place in Mosul and in a dozen Christian towns and villages of the surrounding territory. The community is shocked and wants to draw the attention of the authorities who so far have done nothing to stop this killing," notes the Archbishop. "The march has no political or electoral motives, only religious ones" emphasizes the Prelate. "The Christians want to stay in Iraq and live their faith in peace."

Furthermore, the date of February 28 marks the second anniversary of the kidnapping of Archbishop Faraj P. Rahho, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul who was abducted and killed and who will be remembered as a martyr of faith and dialogue.

"For the same reason, in Mosul, on Sunday, February 28th there will be no Mass in the morning as it will be entirely devoted to this act of protest and silent prayer. The Eucharist will be celebrated in churches in the afternoon. We will be fasting and praying for peace and for the survival of Christians." The Council of the Bishops of Nineveh has published a document that will be read in every church, explaining the reasons for the protest. "In this season of Lent, the people pray, fast, and celebrate the Way of the Cross with faith, imploring the protection of the Most High,” the Prelate said.

"Many Christian families left the city last week," the Archbishop comments, expressing his concern: "Security is not guaranteed. There are soldiers in front of the church, and this helps to prevent terrorist attacks. But today's Christian families are being killed on the streets or in their homes. More protection is needed. We ask authorities that the culprits be arrested and prosecuted according to law. We want justice to be done."

The Archbishop also expressed the "consolation and affection" that came to Mosul with the visit of the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly. The Patriarch, who arrived in town yesterday on a private visit, met with representatives of local government, highlighting the urgent need to protect the Christian communities and establish their role in rebuilding the country. "The gesture of the Patriarch is a great sign of encouragement and support for all of us," notes Archbishop Casmosussa. "We hope it will help motivate the civil authorities."

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