Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Iraqi PM Pledges to Protect Christians

The Iraqi government is committed to protecting and helping the Iraqi Christian community whose members have been emigrating in large numbers due to the violence in the country, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Saturday. Maliki made the promise in a statement as he received Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldeans, in Baghdad to congratulate him for his recent appointment as cardinal, AsiaNews reported Monday.Maliki pledged his support to the patriarch in his "new role," which he said "is a victory for Iraq in the international community which we hope will contribute to bring peace against terrorism, extremism, and sectarianism." He added his government was willing and determined to defend the small Christian minority and stem the flight of its members.Since 2003 Iraqi Christians, mostly Chaldean, have been targeted by Islamic extremists because they are seen as allies of the U.S. army. Like Shias and Sunnis, Christians have experienced abductions, murders and violence, but they are more vulnerable because of their lack of political clout and their refusal to take up arms.Before 2003 Chaldeans numbered some 800,000 but the brutal persecution to which Christians are subjected has forced many families to flee to neighbouring countries. Unconfirmed estimates put the number left in the country at 200,000.
As in the days of Noah....

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