Christmas cancelled in Iraq

The Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq has announced it will not hold public Christmas celebrations this year.

Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church is one of the largest in Iraq and the diaspora.

Cardinal Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, head of the church, said the decision was made “out of respect” for victims; those killed and wounded in recent anti-government protests and in solidarity with the pain of their families.

“There will be no decorated Christmas trees in the churches or streets, no celebrations and no reception at the patriarchate,” the Patriarch said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We will take refuge in prayer for the victims,” said Sako.

His announcement coincided with a gathering in Baghdad of Iraqi politicians threatened by the revolt and their Shia regional allies whose involvement in Iraq’s affairs is strongly rejected by the protesters.

Since early October authorities have failed to suppress mass demonstrations against corruption, a lack of services and jobs.

Around 430 people have died and 20,000 wounded in the mass rallies reports the Irish Times.

While the protests are in the main taking place in Shia Muslim-majority areas, the Church had taken part as an act of solidarity.

Iraq, a major global oil exporter has 20 per cent of the population living in poverty.

A young populaion, youth make up 60 per cent of Iraq’s 40 million people and they see no future for themselves as long as the current regime remains in power.

Twenty-five per cent of youth are unemployed.


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