Though churches were not the target of the latest wave of explosions in Iraq, church leaders are appealing to the international community to do what they can to encourage and support the violence-plagued country and its people.
In the deadliest day of coordinated bombings since Feb. 1, 2008, simultaneous truck bombs struck Iraq's Foreign and Finance ministries in Baghdad Wednesday, killing at least 95 people and wounding more than 400.
One Baghdad church, Our Lady of Fatima, was reportedly badly damaged in the blasts, but Latin-rite Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad told the Catholic News Service that he did not believe the church was specifically targeted and reported no casualties. more >>
The Assyrian people, most popularly known as Iraq’s Christian population, are observing Martyrs Day on Friday to remember those in their community who have died due to persecution.
From Los Angeles to North Iraq, the Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) diaspora are holding events to remember past persecutions as well as highlight the ongoing suffering of the community. Events are planned for San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, North Iraq, Syria, Iran and other locations.
The date, Aug. 7, was chosen to commemorate the 1933 massacre of 3,000 Assyrians by the Iraqi army. more >>
A 30-year-old Iraqi Christian was shot dead Sunday, after gunmen in four cars showed up at the soft drink factory that he worked at, according to authorities.
A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, reported Sunday that the gunmen approached the factory, located half-way between Mosul and the predominantly Christian town of Talkeef, beat the factory's guard and demanded to see the facility's boss.
When Ala Bashir, the factory manager’s brother, appeared, the gunmen shot him on the spot and fled, the officer told Agence France Presse. more >>
The Iraqi government has increased security for Christian places of worship after the latest string of bombings killed four people and wounded another 35.
Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, Iraq’s Interior Ministry spokesman, said the ministry issued directives to raise security at churches across the country, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni Muslim, “strongly condemned” the attacks on churches in a statement posted on his Web site. He called on the country’s security forces to locate the culprits and allow justice to take place. more >>
A church in Mosul became the seventh Iraqi church bombed over the course of just 48 hours.
At least three children were injured in the latest attack, caused by a car bomb that exploded near the church in eastern Mosul, according to CNN.
Around 7 p.m. the night before, a car bomb had exploded near the Virgin Mary Church in east Baghdad as worshippers left Sunday mass, killing at least four – three Christians and one Muslim – and injuring another 32. more >>
A five-year-old Christian boy was kidnapped and executed by an unknown group who demanded a ransom of $50,000 for his release, a persecution watchdog group reported this week.
Tony Adwar Shawell was kidnapped on March 5. His body was found with numerous bullet wounds on May 11, according to International Christian Concern.
Since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 it has become commonplace for criminal gangs and Islamic militants to kidnap and murder Christians. Christians are often mistakenly believed to have rich relatives in the West, making them a prime target for kidnappings. The identity of the Shawell's killers is so far unknown. more >>