Iraq: Christians threatened by militant Muslims

Source: FSSPX News


Christians living in the north of Iraq are under constant threat of attacks, attributed to militant Muslims with Wahhabite leanings. The intimidation attempts have become frequent, according to the information service FIDES, which repeats the words of Fr. Denka H. Toma, superior general of the Order Antonin of Saint Hormizda, the only religious, Chaldean, male congregation present in Iraq: “We do not want Iraq to become like Palestine! Without a State, a nation abandoned to itself, at the mercy of terrorist groups, with people dying of hunger”.

Last week a bomb was defused outside a Christian school in Mosul. Since then the establishment has remained closed for security reasons. During the same period shots have been fired at the episcopal see of the Syrian rite Church, situated in the same town in the north of Iraq, says Fr. Nizar Semaan, a religious of this Church. Those responsible for these attacks are “very probably” Wahhabite extremists, he said. The fundamentalists would like to intimidate the Christian community and show their own strength. Fr. Semaan considers also that they would thus prevent, at all costs, the return to normality. The fundamentalists are giving themselves over to rampant islamization. “The extremists want to impose their law of intolerance and violence on a town like Mosul, where there is a long tradition of respect among religions and ethnic groups”, the Iraqi religious maintains. Under Saddam Hussein, the Wahhabite groups were not very active, but now they are trying to seize power and implement their vision of an Islamic society. For this, they have money at their disposal, and their task of recruiting among the rejected young people is facilitated by a high level of unemployment.

The progress of islamization can be seen in the wearing of the veil by women. Fr. Nizar Semaan says that, at the time he was a student at the university of Mosul, at the end of the 1980s there was no more than one woman out of 40 who wore the veil. Today, on the campus the proportion is exactly the opposite.