Melbourne, Australia, February 1, 2006 – (ANS)
– On Sunday 29 January, five car bombs exploded in Kirkuk and Baghdad
between 4:10 pm and 4:30 pm. Three people were killed by the Kirkuk bombs
which went off outside the Church of the Virgin and an Orthodox church. In
Baghdad, car bombs exploded outside the Vatican embassy, the Disciples of
St. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church and an Anglican church. At least 14
people altogether were injured. An Assyrian Christian source reported that
Assyrian Christian university students in Mosul were beaten by mobs of
Muslim students angry about the cartoons of Mohammed published in Denmark
last September. It appears the church bombings were also linked to local
anger over the Danish cartoons.
(BACKGROUND: As the Copenhagen Post explains:
Last year, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten challenged
Danish illustrators to submit cartoons of Mohammad, after reports that
artists were refusing to illustrate works about Islam for fear of Islamic
fundamentalist retribution. Twelve of the cartoons were published to test
whether Muslim fundamentalists had begun affecting the freedom of expression
in Denmark. Muslims were incensed. The cartoons reappeared in a Norwegian
magazine on 10 January, causing tensions to soar to new heights. Clerics and
international Islamic bodies are provoking widespread Islamic agitation.
Jordan’s parliament has called for the Danish artists to be punished. Libya
has closed its embassy [in Denmark]. Muslims are being encouraged to boycott
Danish goods. The artists and newspaper editor have received death threats.
On 28 January, the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) released a
statement decrying the “obnoxious and distasteful act whose gravity is of
On Friday 27 January, Muslims in Baghdad
listened to fiery sermons denouncing the Danish and Norwegian publications.
Sheikh Hazem al-Aaraji, preaching in his mosque in the Shi’ite Kadhimiya
neighborhood of Baghdad, described the cartoons as an attack on Islam. In a
subsequent demonstration in Kadhimiya, Muslims marched and shouted slogans
including, “Jews, the army of Mohammad and Ali will return.” (This is a ‘war
cry’ threat of religious cleansing popularized by Hamas. It refers to the
Jews of Khaybar, who were conquered and subjugated by Mohammad in 628 and
then expelled, along with the Christians of Najran, from the Arabian
Peninsula by Umar in 640 when he ‘cleansed’ it, according to Mohammad’s wish
that no religion other than Islam should exist there.) www.Zamam.com
(Turkey) reported that some 10,000 angry Muslims, mainly supporters of Iraqi
Shi’ite Leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s deputy, Salah al-Ubaydi, addressed the
crowd. After Sunday’s bombings, Iraq’s Muslim Ulema Council released a
statement condemning the attacks, declaring, “This is not the way to deal
with the newspaper that has offended the prophet Mohammad.”
Iraqi Christians are extremely vulnerable.
Sunnis and Shi’ites are reported to be polarizing along sectarian lines with
social groups and even whole suburbs becoming less mixed and identifying
more by religious affiliation. It is also reportedly the same with student
groups in universities. As people, groups and whole communities start to
identify by religious affiliation rather than their common Iraqi
nationality, the Christian minority find themselves increasingly despised,
marginalized and exposed. They are endangered, without equality before the
(Islamic) law, having no clan networks and retaliation ideology, and lacking
security in a lawless Islamic society. Muslim threats to treat the
Christians as the Jews of Khaybar should not be taken lightly. Two-thirds of
the Assyrian Christian population died in the Assyrian genocide of 1915. The
Jews were massacred and forced out of Iraq in early June 1941 and 1947-51,
ending a 2600-year history of Jews in Mesopotamia/Iraq. While over 100,000
Jews were rescued by Israel, the Christians were shamefully abandoned by the
West. Anyone who thinks such atrocities could not occur in this enlightened,
UN-supervised age of human rights should remember Rwanda 1994, and pray for
the Christians of Iraq.
Please pray specifically for:
Prayer: Adapted from Hezekiah’s prayer in
Isaiah 37:16, 17, 20
O Lord Almighty, you alone are God over
all the kingdoms of the earth.
You are the maker of heaven and earth.
Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your
eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the threats made against your children.
Now, O lord, our God, deliver them from
the hands of those who would harm them so that all kingdoms on earth may
know that you alone, O Lord, are God.