Erbil (Agenzia Fides) - In the city of Erbil, capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, the process of degradation is filling the suburbs inhabited by Christians with shops for the sale of alcohol, discos, casinos and "places for massage" are increasing where in reality prostitution takes place. According to data provided by the local Ministry for tourism, the only suburb of Ankawa, where Chaldean Christians, Assyrians and Syrians live, 13 shops for the sale of alcohol have been opened recently without license. A phenomenon that is expanding thanks to the complicity of public apparatus and economic crisis: the volume of business - even illegal - made around nightclubs and places where massages are done are the only ones that continue to grow, along with the one related to arms, in the devastated economy of the Country. Bodies of administrative control of the governorate of Erbil give rise to sporadic interventions against gambling, the growth in the number of unlicensed clubs and prostitution, but these episodic initiatives - made especially to calm down the periodic complaints of Muslim religious representatives – do nothing to stop the deterioration.
In recent months, (see Fides 17/10/2015) hundreds of Iraqi Christians, living in Ankawa, had organized a protest against the phenomena that make daily life in that area of the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan even more humiliating where also communities of refugees who fled the Nineveh Plain are concentrated. On that occasion, a list of specific demands to the local administrative authorities was also delivered to a representative of the governor of Erbil, for a joint and rapid solution regarding the emergencies that keep the population of Ankawa in a state of increasing suffering. These disreputable clubs are also frequented – say local sources to Agenzia Fides by Muslim Kurds from other areas of Erbil. Alcohol is not sold in their neighborhoods, there is no nightlife, so they are turning Ankawa in their 'Las Vegas'. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 23/01/2016)