Friday, December 10, 2010

AFP: Hundreds of Iraq Christians mark church carnage

Assyrians in Iraq account for a slight majorit...Image via WikipediaBe sure to clck here for the full story.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h4xvEjr4QdsP710doAiqzAo2zNiQ?docId=CNG.9c07eaad5245857f7c88d2bb772e1f0c.8d1
BAGHDAD — Hundreds of Iraqi Christians attended mass under heavy security on Friday to mark 40 days since dozens of worshippers were killed in an Al-Qaeda siege that sparked an international outcry.
Teary-eyed parishioners, diplomats, and politicians gathered in the Sayidat al-Nejat (Our Lady of Salvation) Syriac Catholic church, seated on plastic garden chairs as priests read aloud the names of the 46 people who died, recited prayers and sang hymns.
Outside, dozens of armed soldiers, policemen and private security contractors stood guard as streets were closed off to vehicle traffic, and men and women alike were frisked on entry.
The head of the Syriac Catholic Church, Ignatius Joseph III Yunan, told the congregation of his "sadness" over the "disaster," while praying for unity to return to Iraq.
"We came here in order to pray to God for Iraq to be better. God will never give up on you. God will make the sons of this country united," said the patriarch, who came from Lebanon for the ceremony.
Later, appealing to an international audience, he spoke briefly in English, before repeating his message in French and Italian: "Do not consider Iraq the land of (economic) opportunities."
"Just remember, it is a nation with living people -- they deserve life."
Several people wept as a crowd of more than 500 paid their respects inside the church, which still bears the scars of the October 31 siege.
Large posters of the two priests who were among the dead -- Father Wassim, 23, and Taher Saadallah Boutros, 32 -- adorned the entry gate to the church, and pictures of all 46 victims were put up around the building.
Bullet marks were still visible in the building's walls, and shards of wood were broken off its main entry doors, while its wood-panelled columns had multiple chunks broken off.
Outside, a handful of demonstrators held up placards that read "Stop Killing Christians" and called for the results of an investigation into the attack to be published.
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