NEWS from the National Council of Churches, USA
Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2252  |  E-mail news@ncccusa.org    |  Most Recent Stories   |  NCC Home

Middle East Council of Churches
says attacks on Iraq churches are 'evil'

New York, February 3, 2006 -- The Middle East Council of Churches has characterized attacks on Christian Churches in Iraq as "criminal" and "evil."

In a statement released today by the MECC General Secretariat in Beirut, the council said the attacks are "a continuation of an evil attempt to spread separation between the Iraqi Muslims and Christians."

Muslims and Christians in Iraq "are bound by the same history and feeling of nationalism, and are strengthened by looking forward to a new future in an Iraq which is in the process of finishing the establishment of its democratic institutions, free from foreign occupation."

The MECC General Secretariat also affirmed its commitment to Christian-Muslim dialogue and called on both sides "to do their utmost to bury the intrigues and to radically stop the evil attempts from harming the common life between the Christians and Muslims, members of the same population.

Catholic and Orthodox churches in Kirkuk and Catholic and Anglican churches in Baghdad Sunday killed three people and wounded nine, according to international media reports. Sunday's blasts were apparently coordinated, and took place within 20 minutes of each other, Iraqi police said.

Three bombs were detonated in Baghdad Sunday, while two more were detonated in Kirkuk. In Baghdad, St Joseph's Catholic church in the suburb of Sinaa and an Anglican church in the eastern Nidhal area were hit. In Kirkuk, a bomb exploded at the Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary, as well as the Kirkuk Orthodox Church.

Churches in Iraq have been the target of previous bombings. In August 2004, a series of attack targeting churches in Mosul, northern Iraq, and in Baghdad, killed at least 12 people and injured dozens.

There are some 800,000 Christians in Iraq - about three percent of Iraq's population of 26 million.

The full statement of the MECC statement follows:

The Middle East Council of Churches received with deep concern the news about the increasing criminal attacks that have not ceased to target the churches in Iraq, and saw in them a continuation of an evil attempt to spread separation between the Iraqi Muslims and Christians who are bound by the same history and feeling of nationalism, and are strengthened by looking forward to a new future in an Iraq which is in the process of finishing the establishment of its democratic institutions, free from foreign occupation. 

The Middle East Council of Churches deeply believes and is involved in the Christian–Muslim dialogue, and calls on the Iraqi authorities, Muslims and Christians, to do their utmost to bury the intrigues and to radically stop the evil attempts from harming the common life between the Christians and Muslims, members of the same population. 

The Council expresses its full solidarity with the churches of Iraq, and raises prayers to the Almighty God to bestow on the victims His mercy and to bring back peace to the soil and people of Iraq.

Contact NCC News, Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252; or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350


 

Return to NCC Home Page