ROME - "In northern Iraq, and especially in Mosul, an explosion of extremist violence is jeopardising the success of a project of religious integration and social development, based on living together and cooperation between Christians and Muslims, which used to be a model throughout the country; and from the fragmentary information that is coming from Mosul Christians are once again the victims of terrorism and massacres.” And the alarm raised by prof. Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, who calls on the international community and the Iraqi government to "do everything possible to break the cycle of violence that seems to aim to halve the Middle Eastern country". Riccardi also launched an appeal in particular to humanitarian agencies so that they "intervene promptly to the rescue of the people on the run - we are talking about hundreds of thousands of people, mostly families with children - that flock to the border with Kurdistan, hampered by the militia of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis)". The victims reported are already numerous and a few sacred buildings, churches and monasteries, have been set on fire.
The Community of Sant'Egidio has followed for some time the evolution of the situation in the province of Nineveh where, until a few days ago, about half of the 400 thousand Iraqi Christians lived. A month ago the president of the Provincial Council Ahmed Bashar Kitti was in Rome as a guest of the Community along with Christian deputy Anwar Hadaya to discuss integration and economic development projects elaborated in the region. "Now, says prof. Riccardi, everything risks to be definitively compromised, and if nothing is done quickly, we will see another humanitarian catastrophe". "We are close - said the founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio – to the Christians persecuted and forced to flee; in particular, to the Chaldean bishop of Mosul, Amel Nona, who has decided to stay close to his faithful persecuted, and to our friend, Syriac Orthodox bishop Daoud Shalaf. Their request for help should not fall on deaf ears".