Iraq: Chaldean Church launches youth festival; Controversy over appointment of Catholic mayor

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More than 550 boys and girls from various parts of Iraq have fled to Alqosh, a town of the Nineveh Plain, to attend the Youth Festival, organized under the patronage of the Patriarchate of Bablonia of the Chaldeans. The days of prayer, reflection and celebration opened on Thursday evening, July 27, with a meeting with Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, who talked with the young people, and expressed his joy in taking part an event he sees as a re-start for indigenous Christian communities and for all Iraq after the years of the jihadist occupation of Mosul and large areas of the country.

The town of Alqosh, inhabited mostly by Chaldean Christians, has for three years been the closest town to the border line with the territories occupied by IS.

On Thursday, July 27, Chaldean Catholic Lara Yussif Zara, became the new Mayor of Alqosh, and was appointed by the Council of the Nineveh Province, controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) after the same council removed former mayor Fayez Abed Jawahreh from office because of allegations of corruption. According to Aina Agency, some of the residents in Alqosh continue to express disagreement over the appointment of the new mayor and consider the removal of Mayor Jawahreh as part of a political operation orchestrated by Kurdish forces to push the people of the Nineveh Plain to support the referendum scheduled for 25 September through which the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan hopes to unilaterally proclaim its independence from Iraq. 29/7/2017)