Iraq Blasts Target Five Christian Churches in Baghdad

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Iraq's Christian minority is in shock

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS) -- A series of blasts before dawn on Saturday, October 16, targeted five Christian churches across Baghdad, Iraq, over the course of an hour have shocked Iraq’s Christian minority and marred the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to the BBC, a series of blasts before dawn targeted five Christian churches across the capital over the course of an hour. There were no reports of casualties.

“No-one has said they were behind the church attacks that caused extensive damage,” said the BBC in a story. “The first bomb exploded at the church of Saint Joseph at about 0400 AM (Baghdad) followed by similar explosions outside four other churches. “Flames engulfed the Roman Catholic St George's church in the central Baghdad district of Karrada.”

Kamil Shabo, a 40-year-old laborer, described the bombers as "infidels".

"They have no faith," he told Reuters news agency. "It is a religious sanctuary, how could they attack a religious place?"

Father Gabriel Shamami from St Joseph's Church said, "Muslims and Christians have been living here in harmony for hundreds of years. I don't think Iraqis would do this especially during Ramadan."

Monsignor Emmanuel Delly, the patriarch of the Chaldean Church, was quoted by the BBC as saying that there was nothing the tiny minority could do.

"If the government is powerless, what can we do," he said. "We call on them [the attackers] not to touch the holy sites."

The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq denounced the attacks against the churches, Arabic television station al-Jazeera reported.

According to the BBc, there are around 750,000 Christians living in Iraq and many have fled to neighboring countries since the rise of Islamic fundamentalism after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

In August devices were set off at four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul, killing a number of people and wounding dozens more.