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NCC Deplores Recent Attacks on Iraq's Churches
August 3, 2004, NEW YORK CITY -- One of the less-reported consequences of the Iraq war is the new insecurity faced by Iraq's houses of worship, including those of 800,000 Christians. For centuries Christian believers in Iraq have been able to worship openly and freely within that majority Muslim culture. Their congregations reflect a variety of Christian traditions, ranging from Chaldean Catholic to Orthodox to Presbyterian. A recent wave of violence against these churches has brought words of shock from observers, including NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar, who issued the following statement:
"The National Council of Churches USA laments the attacks on the Christian communities in Baghdad. These communities trace their heritage in Iraq two thousand years, and during much of that time both they and their Muslim neighbors have lived peacefully side-by-side. This destructive action taken against the churches by extremists betrays that history of coexistence. We join our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters of goodwill in Iraq and around the world in condemning this violence."
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