Patriarch in Iraq Hopes Saddam Honors His Promises

Another War Would Be Devastating, Chaldean Leader Says

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, SEPT. 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The most representative Catholic leader of Iraq expressed his relief following the news that Iraq will allow international disarmament inspectors to return.

His Beatitude Raphael I Bidawid, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, said: «We hope that the promises will be followed by deeds. The Iraqi people cannot endure any more suffering. They are exhausted by 12 years of sorrow and tribulation. Now a new threat arrives of destruction and annihilation.»

In statements to the Misna missionary agency, the patriarch said that Saddam Hussein’s change of attitude is «a relief for all.»

«If there really is a war, it will end in total destruction: Christians and Muslims will be sold at the same price. I pray to the Lord that he will remove this scourge,» Patriarch Bidawid explained.

He said a new conflict would unleash an enormous confrontation within the Muslim world between Sunnis and Shiites.

«There is an attempt to justify the attack with the intention of striking the president and his government, but it is well known that the war would cause an unheard-of tragedy,» the patriarch added.

There are 22 million Muslims in Iraq, and 1 million Christians, of whom 80% are Catholics, mostly Chaldeans.

«I do not think the United States is that naive as to unleash a conflict against the consensus of humanity,» the prelate concluded.

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