Thursday, November 18, 2010

Iraq: President urges Christians to seek refuge in Kurdish north

Iraqi Catholic Christian refugees children attend a Catechism class at a Christian school on the outskirts of Beirut on November 15, 2010. The school embraces around 400 Iraqi Christian refugee children, but is finding it difficult for them to cope with Lebanon's academic program due to the differences in language between Iraqis and their host country.

The first Kurdish church has opened in the north! It might be an option.

Baghdad, 17 Nov. (AKI) - Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said Christians would be safe from sectarian attack if they move to Kurdistan in the country's north. He said the stay would be temporary until the Iraq could guarantee their security.

"It's necessary to immediately deploy special armed forces to protect the churches and the houses where Christians live," said the Kurdish founder and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party.

Christians in Iraq are the target of violent attacks. An assault on a Baghdad church in October killed 58 people, injuring socres more. Subsequent bombings have claimed further victims.

An Al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for the Baghdad church attack and pledged to continue the violence.

The attacks have left members of Iraq's Christian minority of approximately 500,000 in fear of their lives. Most want to emigrate. Talabani urged the religious minority to move to Iraq's Kurdish north, rather than emigrating abroad.

""The Christians don't have to move abroad, but only go to the northern part of the country to the Kurdish zone. They can stay their until our country becomes safe again," Talabani said.

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