An Iraqi man inspects damages at the Mar Afram Syriac Orthodox Church following an explosion in the northern city of Kirkuk as a series of nationwide attacks hit the country.
The daylong wave of violence was the deadliest in the country this year. Iraqi Christians now fear for their lives — but they aren’t the only targets. Yesterday’s assault also included an execution carried out in a mosque, at the height of Ramadan. According to news reports:
Around 8 p.m., gunmen dressed in military uniforms stormed into a mosque in the city of Yusufiya, just south of Baghdad. The gunmen read off the names of seven people who had been loyal to the United States and joined the Awakening movement, took them outside the mosque, and executed them.
After the execution, the gunmen told the people gathered in the mosque that they were from Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and then left.
UPDATE: My CNEWA colleague, Fr. Elias Mannon, has some thoughts at CNEWA’s new blog ONE-TO-ONE:
Christians who live in the Middle East remind us that it is not only Christians who suffer from the violence of extremism. In fact, the majority of victims of Islamic extremism are other Muslims. On the same day that the Church of Mar Ephraim was bombed over three dozen Iraqis were killed by a terrorist bomb in a market in Kut, Iraq; six were killed by a suicide bomber in Tikrit, Iraq; and seven Shi’ites were killed in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf in Iraq.
These terrorist attacks against Muslims took place during Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. All attacks against innocent lives are an abomination against God. Attacks against innocent people during holy times such as Ramadan, Christmas and Easter is a “spreading of evil in the land” which the Qur’an condemns and which every person of good will considers an offense against God and humanity, regardless of the faith of the victim.
Photo by Marwan Ibrahim / AFP/Getty Images