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Missionary says Iraq Catholics facing persecution

Catholics in Iraq are feeling persecuted by Muslim fundamentalists, and Baghdad has turned into a lawless city, according to a Spanish missionary.

Father Ángel García, founder of the Catholic organisation Messengers of Peace, has just returned from Iraq, where he supervised a contribution of humanitarian aid to that country.

García said he witnessed firsthand the sufferings and hardships being endured by the people of Baghdad and Basra.

"Baghdad is a lawless city where there is even greater fear of being assaulted or attacked than of dying from bullets," he said.

The greatest efforts of his organization are focused on hospitals where, because of the lack of electricity, "incubators are useless and infants are put in plastic bags" to maintain their temperature, he said.

Of the Catholics he said: "They are scared, because they see themselves persecuted."

In Basra, where Fr García met with the Chaldean-rite bishop, two Christians were killed. The Iraqi clergy is also being persecuted by fundamentalists, he said. "Some have even had their crucifixes trampled on, because there is no security there."


Pope's envoy reports on trip to Baghdad (4/6/03)
Security risks in Iraq frustrating Caritas relief effort (30/5/03)

6 Jun 2003