Thursday, January 10, 2008

Christians in the Middle East: Bombing Churches

Something to think about next time you see an article about supposed Israeli persecution of Christians in Bethlehem. I got a letter from CAIR asking me to help improve the image of Islam in the press. They could start by denouncing this.
Ami Isseroff

Car Bombings Target Churches In N Iraqi City Of Kirkuk - AFP

KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP)--Two car bombs exploded outside churches in quick succession in the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk Wednesday, in the latest in a wave of attacks on Christian buildings, police said.

The attacks, within two minutes of each other, caused damage to buildings, cars and surrounding houses but no injuries, said Brigadier General Burhan Habib Tayib, head of city police in Kirkuk.

The bombings come after similar attacks on churches and a monastery in the main northern Iraqi city of Mosul Sunday which wounded four people and damaged buildings.

Tayib told AFP the first car bomb exploded outside the Cathedral of Kirkuk, a Chaldean Christian building in the center of the city, at around 1640 local time. It was followed two minutes later by a car bomb blast outside the Assyrian Christian Maar Afram church, about one kilometer away.

"A lot of material damage was caused," said Tayib. "Cars and surrounding houses and the glass and walls of the churches all suffered damage."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Tuesday told the Vatican's ambassador to Iraq, Monsignor Francis Assisi Chullikatt, his government is committed to ensuring the safety of Christians following the attacks in Mosul.

"The Iraqi government is anxious to ensure the safety of Iraqi Christians," Maliki told the ambassador at a meeting in Baghdad, saying it isn't only Christians who are being targeted but all religious groups, including Muslims.

On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI expressed concern for Christians in Iraq in his annual speech to Vatican diplomats.


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