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IRLA Decries The Attack on Christians In Iraq

“We are saddened with the reports of violence against Catholic Christians,” said Dr. John Graz, the Secretary-General of the International Religious Liberty Association. “We call upon all people of faith to pray for the families who have become victims in this terribly tragedy.”

Dr. Graz was speaking of the attack on October 31 against the Roman Catholic Church in Baghdad where 58 people were killed and 75 wounded. A group called the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) has claimed responsibility. ISI claimed to have committed the act in retaliation of what it says is the imprisonment of Muslim women in Coptic churches in Egypt.

CNN reports that the ISI sent a terrifying message to Christians, "The Ministry of War of Islamic State of Iraq declares that all the centers, organizations and bodies of Christian leaders and followers have become legitimate targets by the Mujahedeens, wherever our hands will reach them."

“This is certainly the largest targeted attack against Middle Eastern Christians in recent times,” said Barry Bussey, Director of UN Relations for the IRLA. “We are profoundly saddened by these reports. These dear people only went to church to pray – it is difficult to comprehend the violence against such peaceful worshippers. It reinforces the need to reach out to all mankind to respect the freedom of worship and right of individuals to choose their own faith."