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Iraq Christian students go on strike

Christian students at Mosul university in Iraq's north staged a strike on Thursday in protest at the increasing violence against their community.

Independent Catholic News reports that Fr Nizar Semaan told the Rome-based Fides news agency that the decision to strike was a difficult one because it helped realise the goal of the terrorists to "make Iraq fall back into ignorance". But the Christian students feel their lives are at stake in the situation of decreasing security.

"Faced with the situation of serious insecurity 1500 Christian boys and girls, enrolled at Mosul university are calling for more protection from the authorities," he said. "The students also call for solidarity from the international scientific community and scholars all over the world, and urge governments to help stop terrorist violence in Iraq."

"Since UN sanctions were imposed in 1991, guaranteeing young people the right to study has been a priority for Mosul diocese," Fr Nizar said. "Despite limited economic resources the diocese has always helped students to go to university in the awareness that new better educated generations will build a better future for Iraq. These efforts are being undermined by violence."

The terrorists have threatened to blow up buses which the local Church sends to collect students in outlying villages.

Fr Nizar said: "Action must be taken quickly to avoid another humanitarian disaster. The students are confident that someone will help, but how long can they hope and wait?"

Iraq: Christian students go on strike (Independent Catholic News/Fides 22/10/04)

Christian students stage nonviolent protest in Iraq (Ekklesia 22/10/04)
Baghdad church bombs lead to call for Christian safe havens (The Tablet 23/10/04)
Religious Leaders Ahead in Iraq Poll (Pew Forum/Washington Post 22/10/04)
Islamic extremists target women in Iraq (Catholic World News 22/10/04)

25 Oct 2004