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Christian Delegates Walk Out of Conference in North Iraq in Protest of Murders

Arbel, North Iraq -- All the representatives of Christian communities withdrew this morning from the Arbel Conference for Coexistence and Social Tolerance to protest the murder of Faddy Walid Gabriel in Mosul yesterday evening (AINA 12-1-2010). The conference is was organized by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Sources at the conference said Bishop Afak Assadorian, the President of the Iraqi Churches Council, was the initiator of the withdrawal. Bishop Assadorian and the other bishops, as well as the Christians representatives, expressed their anger, condemnation and strong indignation at the continued targeting of Christians in iraq.

The conference session was suspended and an emergency meeting was held by the Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Mikhael, Minister of Culture, Mahmood Kawa, and the regional representatives of churches to persuade the Christian delegates to return to the conference.

The Christian delegates agreed to return to the conference after obtaining pledges to include their demands in the "Manifesto" that to be issued by the conference.

Lewis Sako, the Chaldean bishop of Kirkuk, gave a short speech and said "by returning to the conference we confirmed a democratic and civilized attitude. It is our democratic right to call upon the Iraqi government and the ministry of defense to impose order and the rule of law not only to protect the Christians but to protect all people. We here emphasize the protection of Iraqi Christians. We proclaim our condemnation against all that is occurring against our Christian people in Iraq. We are not against any one."

Edited by AINA.

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