This letter from Fr. Philippe LeBlance, OP, Senior Advocacy Officer of the Dominicans for Justice and Peace, was sent to members of my province on Sunday, October 12, 2008.
The Permanent Delegate of the Order at the UN, Olivier Poquillon, OP,
Please keep these poor people in your prayers, and pray for the conversion of all those who would resort to violence, intimidation, and murder.
provided information on the serious situation facing Christians in
Mosul and has requested that Justice Promoters in the United States take
action and intervene at the highest levels to make people aware of the
worsening situation of Christians in Mosul. Our brothers in Mosul are
under great pressure and it is not certain that they can hold out much
longer. Furthermore, the Vicar of the Arab World of Olivier’s Province
has requested that strong action be taken concerning the deteriorating
situation in Mosul.
There are reports that 3,000 Christians have fled the city *over the
past week alone* in a "major displacement," according to Duraid Mohammed
Kashmoula, the governor of northern Iraq's Ninevah province. He said
most have left for churches, monasteries and the homes of relatives in
nearby Christian villages and towns.
In a statement, Mr. Kashmoula also said that "The Christians were
subjected to abduction attempts and paid ransom, but now they are
subjected to a killing campaign," .He said he was worried about what he
termed a "campaign of killings and deportations against the Christian
citizens in Mosul."
Mosul police have reported finding the bullet-riddled bodies of seven
Christians in separate attacks so far this month, the latest a day
laborer found on Wednesday. On Saturday, militants blew up three
abandoned Christian homes in eastern Mosul, police said.
Father Bolis Jacob of Mosul's Mar Afram Church said he was at a loss to
understand the violence. "We respect the Islamic religion and the Muslim
clerics," he said. "We don't know under what religion's pretexts these
The violence in Mosul occurs despite U.S.-Iraqi operations launched over
the summer aimed at routing al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents from
remaining strongholds north of the capital.
The killings come as Christian leaders are lobbying Parliament to pass a
law setting aside a number of seats for minorities, such as Christians,
in upcoming provincial elections, fearing they could be further
marginalized in the predominantly Muslim country.
Iraq's Christian community has been estimated at 3 percent of Iraq's 26
million people, or about 800,000, and has a significant presence in the
northern Ninevah province.
In Mosul, where Christians have lived for some 1,800 years, a number of
centuries-old churches still stand.