Iraq's Christian minority took another hit Sunday evening when gunmen shot and killed an elderly Christian couple in their home.
The shooting took place in Baladiyat, a predominantly Shiite area in eastern Baghdad, and was the latest in a series of attacks that has left dozens of Christians dead in recent weeks.
Violence perpetrated by Islamic extremists has forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians to flee the country. Since 2003, the Christian population has shrunk from 1.2 million to 600,000, by some estimates. more >>
Nearly one month after one of the deadliest attacks against Iraqi Christians, Iraq made its first arrests, an interior ministry official said Saturday.
The official, who spoke to Agence France-Presse on the condition of anonymity, said 12 members of the group responsible for the Oct. 31 church siege in Baghdad have been arrested.
The Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq has claimed responsibility for the attack against believers at Our Lady of Salvation, Baghdad's main Catholic church. Militants had stormed the church during mass wearing suicide vests and taking about 120 churchgoers hostage. Nearly 60 people, mainly worshippers, were killed. More were wounded. more >>
A six-year-old girl and her Christian father were killed in a northern city in Iraq Tuesday, joining the dozens of believers that have been targeted by Muslim extremists in recent weeks.
The two were killed by a car bomb explosion in Mosul, which has a large Assyrian Christian population, local police said, according to CNN. Just the night before, gunmen barged into a home also in Mosul and killed two Christian men in their living room.
This week’s attacks only further confirm to Assyrian Christians that they are not safe in Iraq, not even in their own living room. On Oct. 31, gunmen orchestrated the most deadly attack against the Assyrian Christian community since Islamic extremists began targeting them in 2003. At least 58 people were killed during the massacre at Our Lady of Salvation, Baghdad’s main Catholic Church. Among those that died were three Catholic priests, with one passing away at the hospital. more >>
Extremists are behind a “religion-cide” in Iraq, said a ministry leader Wednesday after receiving news that five more people were killed in Iraq’s Christian neighborhoods.
Less than two weeks after the deadliest attack against Christians, when 56 believers were killed, local police reported that at least 11 roadside bombs exploded within an hour in three Christian neighborhoods in Baghdad Wednesday. Five people, who have not been identified yet but are thought to be Christians, were killed in the coordinated attacks.
“Baghdad right now is just gripped by terrorism against the Christian community and there is no other way to put it,” exclaimed 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.” more >>
A Muslim leader is calling on the Iraqi government and US-led forces to step up their efforts to protect the Christian minority in Iraq from extinction.
Navaid Hamid, Secretary of the South Asian Council for Minorities (SACM) and a Muslim, said the deadly attack last weekend on a church in Baghdad was a heinous crime that should be strongly condemned by the international community.
“With the murderous attack, the safety of Iraq’s Christian minority has become critical and it is the prime responsibility not only of the regime in Baghdad but also that of the allied forces led by [the] US to restore confidence and provide safety because never in the history of Iraq, minorities were so vulnerable [sic],” he said. more >>
High-level Christian and Muslim leaders meeting in Geneva to build a “common future” together issued a joint statement Wednesday condemning the deadly attack against the Catholic church in downtown Baghdad.
The leaders attending the consultation on “Transforming Communities: Christians and Muslim Building a Common Future” said they “condemn this inhumane act that contradicts all religious teachings, and Middle Eastern culture that enabled people to coexist peacefully for many centuries.”
While the World Council of Churches, which is hosting the consultation, Pope Benedict XVI, and Muslims in Egypt have separately denounced the attack, the joint statement represents the collective voice of all participants at the consultation, including: His Royal Highness, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan; Dr. Muhammad Ahmed Al-Sharif, general secretary of the World Islamic Call Society; the World Council of Churches; and representatives of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant Evangelical and Pentecostal traditions. more >>