PLEASE PRAY FOR ALL WHO SUFFER

Posted on November 11, 2010

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Following the seizing of a Catholic Cathedral in this last week in which 44 people including 34 members of the congregation were killed, there have been more attempts in the past day. These latest attacks which targetted Christian homes in different neighbourhoods of Baghdad involved the use of two mortar shells and 10 home-made bombs. At least five people were killed although their particulars are not immediately known.

The group which claimed it carried out last week’s attack on the Catholic Cathdral, The Islamic State of Iraq in an announcement has said: “The Ministry of War in the Islamic State of Iraq announces that all Christian institutions, organisations, centres, leaders and followers are legitimate targets for the Mujahedin [holy warriors] wherever they can find them.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraqi-christians-living-in-fear-as-11-bombs-explode-in-baghdad-killing-five-2130789.html)

It has been reported that about half the Christian population of Iraq in 2003 have now fled the country. (See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11724378 for a calendar of attacks on Iraqi Christians.)

The situation for the Iraqi Christian community requires our attention and prayers:
Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, an Egyptian Jesuit who is one of the Vatican’s leading experts on Islam:
“In Iraq, every attack prompts the exodus of thousands of Christians. They say they have no guarantees there. The Shiites have their militias, the Sunnis have their militias and the Kurds have a well-protected autonomous province in the north. The Christians have neither militia nor a region.”

Archbishop Athanasios Dawood of the Syriac Orthodox Church:
“I say clearly and now — the Christian people should leave their beloved land of our ancestors and escape the premeditated ethnic cleansing. This is better than having them killed one by one. You know, everybody hates the Christian. Yes, during Saddam Hussein, we were living in peace — nobody attacked us. We had human rights, we had protection from the government but now nobody protects us. Since 2003, there has been no protection for Christians. We’ve lost many people and they’ve bombed our homes, our churches, monasteries.”

Father David Jaeger, a Franciscan expert on the Holy Land and the Middle East:
“As the terrorists themselves say, their purpose is to eliminate the Christian presence from those lands either by physically destroying Christians or by terrorising them into renouncing the faith or fleeing.”

Pope Benedict XVI on November 1 condemned the cathedral attack:
“I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, all the more ferocious in that it struck defenceless people united in the house of God, which is a place of love and reconciliation.”

No group of human beings should be the target of violence on the sole basis of their ethnicity, religion or creed. Please pray for all who suffer in this manner- Iraqis, Palestinians, and all alike.

In the end, by God’s grace, sincerity and goodwill are the best way to bring peace and sanity to an explosive situation. (Read this inspirational story:(http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/1109/How-an-Iraqi-Christian-school-became-82-percent-Muslim)

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Posted in: Perspective