Saturday, February 20, 2010

The slaughtering of Iraqi Christians continues

AFP reports that Adnan al-Dahan has become the fifth Iraqi-Christian killed this week (at least one other has been wounded) and that the shopkeeper's corpse was found today in Mosul. AFP notes the other four victims: 20-year-old Wissam George (Wednesday), 21-year-old Zia Toma (killed Tuesday, Rasin Shmael was also wounded), 40-year-old Fatukhi Munir (Monday) and 43-year-old Rayan Salem Elias (Sunday). And they remind, "In late 2008, a systematic campaign of killings and targeted violence killed 40 Christians and saw more than 12,000 flee Mosul." Spero News reports the mood in Mosul is "fear and shock" and quotes an unnamed Chaldean priset stating, "It is an ethnic cleansing that goes on day after day, in silence and indifference. We are in deep distress as the authorities and the police do nothing to stop this massacre." Vatican Radio spoke with Mosul's Syrian Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa about a meeting with Iraqi officials yesterday.

Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa: We bishops are from Mosul city went to visit civilian governor and we spoke with him and with the chief of police about the Christian situation in Mosul especially. And we present our message about the [responsibility] of the local government and the central goverment to take care of the security of citizens and officially of Christians.

Meanwhile Zenit News reports that Archibishop Emil Shimoun Nona "is asking for prayers as more and more of his faithful leave Mosul because of a violent intimidation campaign that has brought" multiple deaths. Joan Lewis (Joan's Rome, EWTN) reported from Mosul yesterday on Archbishop Amil Nona:

At 42 he is the yougest archbishop in the Catholic Church and he succeeds the martyred Archbishop Paulos Rahho who was killed in 2008. The youthful archibishop's election by the synod of the Chaldean Church was confirmed by Pope Benedict last November 13. He took possession of his see just a little over a month ago on January 8.
[. . .]
I am once again writing this blog at a late hour and the lights have gone out twice -- though only briefly – since I started this column. Electricity is rationed in Iraq for anywhere from two to 12 hours a day. If you don’t have a generator you have to learn how to ration those hours. The seminary does have a generator, for which I have been thankful countless times every day! Given these conditions I wll briefly describe our meeting today and tell most of the story with some delightful photos.
I firmly believe that Archbishop Nona’s greatest gift to his people is his youth, He is young in age but also in visions and dreams. He is a realist and knows the security issues in Mosul, knows that hundreds of his families have emigrated to safer havens such as Kurdistan but he wants to give them hope and bring them back or, at least, keep families here.

She is part of EWTN and we'll again note their press release in full:

Irondale, AL (February 17, 2010) -- (EWTN) At the invitation of the bishops of Iraq, EWTN Rome Bureau Chief Joan Lewis has begun reporting live from this war-torn country on the plight of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East.
You can hear Lewis' reports exclusively on the EWTN Radio Network until Feb. 28, and read about her findings on her blog, "Joan's Rome," at
Live radio reports begin at 6:05 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday, on "The Son Rise Morning Show" with Brian Patrick, which airs from 6 a.m. ET to 8 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday. She can also be heard live at 9:15 a.m. ET, Wednesdays, on "Catholic Connection" with Teresa Tomeo.
In addition, Lewis will break in at various times on "Open Line," which airs live from 3 p.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and encores from 10 p.m. until midnight.
To find an EWTN Radio affiliate in your area, click To find out how to get EWTN on satellite radio, click here
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 28th year, is available in over 150 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website and publishing arm, EWTN, is the largest religious media network in the world.
Contact: EWTN Global Catholic Network AL, 35210 US
Michelle Johnson - Director of Communications, 205-795-5769
Keywords: EWTN, Iraq, Middle East, Joan Lewis
Category: Catholic Organizations

In other news of violence today, Reuters notes a Tikrit bombing claimed 2 lives. DPA reports a Mosul bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers and left an additional two injured.

The following community sites updated since yesterday morning:

Michelle A. Vu (Christian Post Reporter) reports that a new body of diverse churches has come together in Iraq:

The Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq includes all patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and heads of churches in the country from the 14 Christian communities registered in Iraq since 1982. These Christian communities include the Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox as well as Protestant traditions.
The new council says its aim is "to unite the opinion, position and decision of the Churches in Iraq on issues" related to churches and state with the hope of "upholding and strengthening the Christian presence, promoting cooperation and joint action without interfering in private matters of the churches or their related entities."

This is a press release on the new church organization in Iraq:

World Council of Churches - News release

Contact: +41.22.791.6153 +41.79.507.6363
For immediate release: 19 February 2010


"With great hope and deep satisfaction" the World Council of Churches
(WCC) has welcomed the news that a Council of Christian Church
Leaders of Iraq has been established.

"In our view, it is a development that augurs as much for the future of the
churches in Iraq as it does for Iraq as a nation," the WCC general
secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit wrote in an 18 February congratulatory
message to the members of the new body.

The council includes all patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and heads of
churches in Iraq from the 14 Christian communities registered in Iraq
since 1982, belonging to the Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox as
well as Protestant traditions.

The aim of the new council, according to its bylaws, is "to unite the
opinion, position and decision of the churches in Iraq" on issues related
to the churches and the state.

The council intends to do so "upholding and strengthening the Christian
presence, promoting cooperation and joint action without interfering in
private matters of the churches or their related entities".

In a press release announcing the creation of the new council, the founders
highlighted the importance of Christian education and of dialogue with the
Muslim community in order to "promote the acceptance of the other".

"Iraqi Christians have never viewed themselves as simply a minority
community who stand for their own interests. They have always shown their
deep rootedness in the history and civilization of Iraq," Tveit wrote in
his message to the founders of the council.

The WCC general secretary congratulated them "for formulating a vision that
is unequivocally committed to the advancement of all Iraqi citizens. From
this standpoint, the council’s plan to engage in promoting ecumenical
initiatives and dialogue and partnership with Muslims is an essential

The WCC letter also expresses the solidarity of churches all over the world
with the Iraqi Christians: "We commit ourselves as a fellowship of
churches from around the world to accompany you in the arduous
tasks that face the Iraqi churches in the rebuilding of your nation."

The formation of the council of church leaders comes at a time when
sectarian violence, including many deadly attacks on Christian citizens
and churches, continues to be a major problem in Iraq and is forcing many
members of religious minorities to flee their homes.

The representatives of the 14 churches that founded the council at a 9
February meeting in Baghdad unanimously elected Archbishop Dr Avak
Asadourian of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Iraq as general secretary.
Archbishop Basilius Guirgis al-Qass Moussa of the Syrian Catholic Church
was elected deputy general secretary.

At a February 2009 meeting in Lebanon co-organized by the WCC, Iraqi church
leaders had "pledged to work together on establishing an ecumenical forum
for all Iraqi church leaders that allows them to speak with a common voice
to religious and political authorities inside and outside of Iraq."

Full text of the letter by the WCC general secretary:
Press release by the Council of Christian Church-Leaders of Iraq:
WCC press release on the 2009 meeting:
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

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Go Backstage at the Tour de France with World Champion Bike Racer Cadel Evans


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Street Date: March 23

YELL FOR CADEL goes behind the scenes at the Tour de France to reveal how a world class cyclist – Australian Cadel Evans, the recent winner of the World Championships – prepares for the world’s toughest bike race.

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Credits • A film by Michael Kloft (writer of The Goebbels Experiment)

52 minutes, color & b/w

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Street Date: March 23

Born into a Bavarian bourgeois family, Heinrich Himmler became the driving force behind the indescribable crimes that made the Nazi regime so unique in modern history. An early henchman of Hitler’s, Himmler turned a small gang of thugs into a monstrous pseudo-religious order and widely feared instrument of terror – the SS.

As a compliant servant to his Führer, Himmler controlled an economic empire in which hundreds of thousands of slave workers were exploited and extermination camps murdered millions. Using rare archival materials and interviews, this film biography shows how – and why – Himmler became a “monster of history.”


Credits • A film by Michael Kloft (writer of The Goebbels Experiment)

50 minutes, color & b/w

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Catalog #: FRF914192D
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Street Date: March 23

After seizing power, the Nazis began their crusade against Jews with discriminatory laws and the looting of property; they turned to violence openly in what has come to be known as Kristallnacht: the night of broken glass.

In November 1938 German soldiers set on fire some 400 synagogues and destroyed 7,000 Jewish stores and businesses. More than 90 people were killed, 600 committed suicide, and over 26,000 men were deported to concentration camps.

Through rare footage, photographs and documents, THE NIGHT OF BROKEN GLASS reveals the background to this orgy of anti-Semitic violence, which – while masterminded by the Nazi regime – is shown to have been largely accepted by the German public.

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oh boy it never ends