IRAQ: Church Leaders Plead for Help in Mosul, Iraq
Christians meet with Al-Maliki, ask for troops and provincial voting rights.
ISTANBUL, October 19 (Compass Direct News) - Amid escalating violence against Christians, Iraqi church leaders have appealed directly to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for increased efforts to curb the continuing attacks in Mosul. In a meeting with Al-Maliki, 10 heads of Iraqi churches urged the prime minister on Thursday (Oct. 16) to send the army to Mosul to help the approximately 1,000 police that were dispatched this past week to keep watch over Christians in the city. Church leaders said police efforts to curb violence were insufficient and more needed to be done to stabilize the city, from which an estimated 1,500 families have fled following recent killings of Christians. Al-Maliki assured the church heads that he would do whatever was in his power in cooperation with them and that he hoped to send soldiers to Mosul "immediately," said Shlemon Warduni, an auxiliary bishop of the Chaldean Church in Baghdad present at the meeting. "He is upset and he's sorry for what is happening," said Warduni. " He is going to do whatever he can in cooperation with those who work with him." Members of the Christian communities believe that the police already sent to the city have made little difference and more forces are needed to ensure peace.
Father Basher Warda of St. Peter's Seminary told Compass by phone that government officials have visited Mosul and the victims promising to help, "but there is nothing. A few initiatives here and there, but they cannot correspond to the whole crisis."