On October 31 two priests and 51 parishioners were murdered by Islamic terrorists in Baghdad at a Syriac Catholic Cathedral. The primary reason for this attack seems to have been the determination of certain militant Islamic forces to prevent a religiously plural central government in Iraq. Pope Benedict XVI called these attacks “savage” and “absurd.” The descriptions of what happened, even to children, are gruesome.
Joseph Kassab, executive director of the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA), the largest and oldest association of Chaldean organizations in the nation, said: “Iraqi Christians are being systematically murdered and driven from their homeland. This situation must, repeat must, be addressed by an international security coalition with members from Iraq, the U.S. and the U.N.”
Many Iraqi Christians believe their suffering is invisible to most Christians in the U.S. I have to agree. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement on this recent attack and did not even mention the cathedral or use the word Christian in condemning the attack. Several members of Congress have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to acknowledge that the specific targets of violence in Iraq are Christians.
When we invaded Iraq many of us questioned U.S. policy at that time. I personally believed that the biggest losers in such an invasion would be Christians. Under Saddam Hussein Christians were left alone since politically they served as a kind of buffer between conflicted Muslim sects. Now with a weakened government and the rise of day-to-day violence Christians are dying and being driven from their ancient homeland, a place where the gospel has been present since the first century. “Out of sight, out of mind” should not be how we express our outrage to our government and other world leaders. Our brothers and sisters are dying since they are targeted as infidels by the radicals. What will we do?
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We pray that God may grant peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, reading this article, praying and speaking up for Christians in Iraq seem to be an urgent prayer for all Christians in the Western world. Thank you for this article.