Archbishop of Baghdad encourages Iraqi Christians to maintain hope

ppsleimanirak1407091.jpg  Archbishop Jean Benjamin SleimanRome, Italy, Jul 16, 2009 / 03:12 am (CNA).- In the wake of attacks on eight churches in Baghdad and Mosul, Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman of Baghdad encouraged Iraqi Christians to maintain hope and to “trust in the country and in the path towards unity.”In statements to the SIR news agency, the archbishop said that while he does not know “all of the details surrounding the incidents, I believe they have occurred in order to discourage Christians and make them leave Iraq. They also discourage those who are thinking of returning,” he added.

Similarly Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk said the attacks were a message that Christians who have left Iraq “should not return.”

According to some analysts, the new wave of violence could be linked to the upcoming local elections in Kurdistan and Kirkuk in an effort to intimidate Christian voters