Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Iraqi Christians put to the sword - Telegraph

Buniya moqsue in Al-Alawi area of Baghdad (Ira...Image via Wikipedia
Iraqi Christians might not be able to boast such a heritage – though even if there is no way of proving their belief that the apostle Thomas brought the faith to Iraq in the first century AD, theirs is still one of the oldest Christian communities on earth. Yet after a series of attacks in the past month by Islamist extremists – whose creed is the parvenu of the monotheistic religions in the country – fears are mounting that Christianity in Iraq is doomed to follow Judaism into oblivion.
At the end of last month, in the most ferocious attack on the community yet, Islamist extremists linked to al-Qaeda burst into Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church during evening mass and took the congregation hostage. The gunmen began executing clergymen and worshippers before tossing a grenade into a safe-room where 60 parishioners had huddled to hide. As Iraqi forces stormed the church, the assassins surrounded themselves with children and detonated explosives secreted in suicide vests.
By the time it was over, 52 Christians were dead. Blood smeared the walls of the church, body parts and scraps of seared flesh littered the pews. A policeman standing guard outside the church afterwards summed up the scene: "Blood, flesh and bones. You can't bear the smell."
A group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, a self-acknowledged front for al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility and issued a chilling warning, telling Christians it would "open upon them the doors of destruction and rivers of blood". Delivering on their promise, 11 car bombs aimed at Christian shops and homes in Baghdad exploded on Wednesday, killing another five members of the minority.
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