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November 17 2008

The Catholic archbishop of Baghdad at the Sant’Egidio Meeting with the others religious representatives of Iraq

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From Cyprus the Catholic archbishop of Baghdad, Jean Baptiste Sleiman, condemned a policy that continues to speak the language of violence: “Even if now the attacks are decreasing, violence is always in ambush”.
“Our  people are constantly humiliate
d – Sleiman said during a meeting with the press – abroad who is from Iraq are interrogated for hours and viewed with suspicion. Is the country of oil but gasoline lacks.
The price of gas in recent years has grown more than twenty times. And those who agree to work for foreign companies risk their own lives.

The Catholic archbishop describes a situation particulary hard for Christians. Entire neighborhoods were abandoned, and at least half of the christian population had to leave the country. “Before the war, perhaps, we were a million and a half, and now we are four hundred thousand catholics, at most half a million with the christians of other confessions: but pay attention to the numbers, which can become political tools. Thanks to the mediation of the UN, the law now provides a political representation of minorities, truly very small, but it is important that we have established the principle of their rights, including those of the christians.
Finally, the archbishop of Baghdad said:
"At the meeting of Sant'Egidio in Cyprus there are other Iraqis: a Chaldean bishop, an important representative of mandea minority, Shiite and Sunni representatives. Each of us will ask something for our country. But what I wonder is to help our society to free themselves from violence, in order to make a catharsis. We must recognize that violence is enstablished in our history, it comes not only from outside. The judiciary power cannot become a ministry of revenge, neither  the policy reduced itself to the law of the strongest."

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