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-Iraq: Christmas Declared An Official Holiday for the First Time

by Dr. D ~ December 27th, 2008

(Iraqi Christmas Service by Getty Images via Daylife)

2008 has been a very rough year for the few hundred thousand Christians who remain in Iraq. At least this year the government acknowledged Christmas as an official holiday for the first time.

On Christmas Day, Chaldean Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly praised the establishment of Christmas as an official Iraqi holiday:

“I thank the government for giving chances to all to serve each other for the general benefit, and I thank it too for making this day an official holiday where we pray to God to make us trust each other as brothers. …I thank the visitors here and ask them to share happiness and love with their brothers on Christmas; by this they will build a glorious Iraq.”

At least one senior Shiite cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, attended the Mass as a gesture of cooperation with Christians and noted:

“We came here to bring a message of love, respect and gratitude to our Christian brothers and to share happiness with them as we have shared sadness with them during the cruel targeting they came under.  We will do our best for equality between people and a good life for all, whatever their religious, sectarian and ethnic background.”

Response: Iraqi Christians toned down their usual Christmas celebrations in order not to encourage persecution. At least the government came through and gave the Christian minority a real present and boost for Christmas in declaring December 25 to be an official holiday.           *Top

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