FaithWorld

Iraqi Christians flee to Kurdish areas or abroad – U.N.

iraq (Photo: An Iraqi Christian refugee lights candles at an Orthodox church in Amman on November 7, 2010 for victims of the attack on Our Lady of Salvation church of Baghdad on October 31/Ali Jarekji)

Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their homes to semi-autonomous Kurdish areas and neighbouring countries since a Catholic church in Baghdad was attacked six weeks ago, the U.N. refugee agency has said.

Some 1,000 Christian families, roughly 6,000 people, have arrived in the northern Kurdish areas from Baghdad, Mosul and Nineveh, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. Several thousand have crossed into Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Many spoke of receiving threats or leaving out of fear. Fifty-two hostages and police were killed when Iraqi forces tried to free more than 100 Catholics taken hostage during Sunday mass on October 31.

“Since the awful Baghdad church attack and subsequent targeted attacks, the Christian communities in Baghdad and Mosul have started a slow but steady exodus,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing on Friday.

Iraq’s Christians once numbered 1.5 million out of a total Iraqi population of about 30 million and there are now estimated to be about 850,000, or about 3 percent of the population.

Wind could have parted Red Sea for Moses: U.S. report

moses 1Moses might not have parted the Red Sea, but a strong east wind that blew through the night could have pushed the waters back in the way described in biblical writings and the Koran, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Computer simulations, part of a larger study on how winds affect water, show wind could push water back at a point where a river bent to merge with a coastal lagoon, the team at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder said. (Image: Israel’s Escape from Egypt on a 1907 Bible card)

“The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus,” Carl Drews of NCAR, who led the study, said in a statement. “The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in.”