Baghdad’s Christians Fear Repeated Persecution

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Iraqi Christians attend a mass at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Erbil, on October 25, 2016. (File Photo: AFP)
Baghdad – Asharq Al-Awsat
Lack of security measures is the reason behind the killing of a Christian family in al-Mashtal district of the new Baghdad area, said Chaldean Patriarch in Iraq and the world Mar Luis Rafael Sacco.

“With great sadness and sorrow, we receive painful news about the assassination of people to take their money, or for the purpose of taking revenge,” said Patriarch Sacco, adding that a man and his wife, both doctors, and mother, were killed in “cold blood”.

The Patriarch considered the killing an evidence of a flawed security system.

He called on the government “to take all necessary measures to protect the citizens and their property, to prosecute the perpetrators and bring them to justice and punish them harshly to reassure citizens.”

Patriarch Sacco called upon religious, educational and media bodies to promote a culture of peace and coexistence.

Iraqi Ministry of the Interior did not issue any clarification on the incident, but security sources said on Saturday, that a doctor and two members of his family were stabbed with knives, after gunmen stormed into his house. The attackers also stole some money and expensive items from the house.

The family targeted consists of Christian doctor, Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, a native of Baghdad, his wife Shaza Malik, and mother Khairiya Dawood, who were stabbed to death on Thursday evening in Baghdad’s eastern neighbourhood of al-Mashtal.

For his part, head of al-Warka parliamentary bloc Joseph Sylawa, denounced the security authorities’ silence regarding the horrific murder of the family.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sylawa indicated: “I do not have detailed information about the incident so far,” adding that it is likely that the incident was done for criminal purposes, but he didn’t rule out that the purpose could be done to scare the Christian entity of the Iraqi society forcing them to leave the city.

“I am surprised by the silence of the Interior Ministry on the subject, and not providing any clarification,” pointed out Sylawa.

The Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights denounced the crime and called on the Iraqi government to “immediately investigate the incident and identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice quickly.”

The Monitor issued a statement published by Rudaw news agency,calling on the Iraqi government to protect its citizens and put an end to this kind of crime against unarmed Christian citizens.

Since 2003, thousands of Christian families had left Baghdad to Kurdistan or European countries due to increasing rate of violence.