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Iraqi Church leaders hold out slim hope that parliamentary elections will bring relief

Catholic World News - April 29, 2014

As parliamentary elections began in Iraq, Chaldean Catholic prelate voiced hopes and fears about the country’s future in talks with Aid to the Church in Need.

“We want our country to return to stable conditions where all can live in peace,” said Archbishop Amel Nona of Mosul. He said that the Iraqi people are “fed up” with problems that include insecurity, official corruption, a sagging economy, and the emigration of trained and talented workers.

Archbishop Nona said that Iraqis want a government that respects and protects human rights. “People should be able to live their lives without having to fear that they will become a target because of their Christianity,” he said. “A secular state would be the solution.

Bishop Saad Sirop Hanna, an auxiliary of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad, agreed that human rights must be protected, but feared that the country’s major political parties, “dominated by ideological and religious precepts,” would provide little relief for the Christian minority. “These parties lack civic and democratic maturity,” he said.

In the past decade, the Christian population of Iraq has plummeted from 1.4 million to under 300,000.

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