- Baghdad celebrates first public Christmas amid hope, memories CNN:
Welcome to the first-ever public Christmas celebration in Baghdad, held Saturday and sponsored by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. Once thought to be infiltrated by death squads, the Ministry now is trying to root out sectarian violence -- as well as improve its P.R. image. ... Many of the people attending the Christmas celebration appear to be Muslims, with women wearing head scarves. Suad Mahmoud, holding her 16-month-old daughter, Sara, tells me she is indeed Muslim, but she's very happy to be here. "My mother's birthday also is this month, so we celebrate all occasions," she says, "especially in this lovely month of Christmas and New Year."(Via GatewayPundit, with a roundup).
Father Saad Sirop Hanna, a Chaldean Christian priest, is here too. He was kidnapped by militants in 2006 and held for 28 days. He knows firsthand how difficult the lot of Christians in Iraq is but, he tells me, "We are just attesting that things are changing in Baghdad, slowly, but we hope that this change actually is real. We will wait for the future to tell us the truth about this."
He just returned from Rome. "I came back to Iraq because I believe that we can live here," he says. "I have so many [Muslim] friends and we are so happy they started to think about things from another point of view and we want to help them."
- Christmas Hope Dawns in Iraq Zenit News Service. December 24, 2008. Iraqi bishops are welcoming signs of friendship extended to Christians of their country this Christmas.
- Christmas in Kirkuk AsiaNews.it. December 23, 2008. The most frequently recurring desire for Iraqi families is "to participate in midnight Mass." Problems connected to security do not permit this, but hope remains for the future. Prayers, the exchange of greetings with "Muslim brethren," and the sharing of food for the celebration are the sign of a shared objective: the return to normalcy.
- AsiaNews.it. December 22, 2008. Iraqi bishops tell AsiaNews about the climate in the country, on the eve of the holiday. Compared to the era of Saddam Hussein, there is greater freedom, but the danger of violence remains. The prelates emphasize the positive elements on the path of dialogue, and are asking the government for concrete steps in the protection of rights.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Posted by Christopher Blosser at 8:53 AM