Thursday, November 11, 2010

New wave of attacks target Iraqi Christians

Our Lady of Salvation church after the
Oct. 31 attack (from
Less than two weeks after Islamist militants killed 58 individuals in an attack at Baghdad’s main Syriac Catholic church, further attacks have killed at least five Christians and injured 33 others.

Suspected Islamist militants detonated 11 bombs in Christian suburbs across the Iraqi capital on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, striking indiscriminately at shops and homes owned by members of the increasingly vulnerable minority.

In the aftermath of the church massacre, The Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida front, announced its intention to open upon the country's Christians “the doors of destruction and rivers of blood.” It posted a statement on militant websites last week calling for the continual bloodshed of Christians in the Middle East.

“Baghdad right now is just gripped by terrorism against the Christian community and there is no other way to put it,” said Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. “I’m using the word ‘religion-cide’ to explain to people what is really taking place in Iraq right now. Extremists are concentrating their efforts to eliminate Christianity from that country.” He noted how sad this effort is given that Christianity has been in the land that is now known as Iraq for two millennia.

Christians in Iraq have expressed frustration as well as desperation after the attack, saying that the Iraqi government only speaks word of protection but is unable to provide security for the beleaguered community. An Open Doors contact in Baghdad sent the following message on Wednesday:

“[T]errorists have started to kill the Christians in their houses in many different places of the city. My family and I are very stressed and afraid. It is very horrible and we are safe now, but maybe we are the next victims. Why is there no real safe place in Baghdad? Will we also leave Baghdad or not? We do not want to leave. We are born here. My family has lived here for ages and now I am forced to escape? What is this kind of world? Please pray for us to keep us safe until Friday, when we can get out for a few days.”

Continue to pray for the victims' families and for divine intervention.

Excerpted from The Christian Post and Assyrian International News Agency.

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