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Church killings may put end to Christianity in Iraq

November 4, 2010

The following article is from Iraqi newspaper Azzaman.

Church killings may put end to Christianity in Iraq
©  Azzaman
By Zeena Sami
November 3, 2010

The killing of more than 50 Iraqi Christians among them two priests in a single incident as they celebrated mass on Sunday could empty the country of its dwindling Christian minority, a senior Christian official said.

Abdullah al-Nawfali, head of the department representing different Christian denominations in the country, said the incident, the deadliest against Iraqi Christians since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, has sent the wrong message to those opting to stay.

“There is a danger that the incident at Our Lady of Salvation church will boomerang on the presence of Iraqi Christians in Iraq,” Nawfali, who is a director-general at the Iraqi Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments, said.

“The incident is certain to lead to more emigration among members of the community,” he said.

However, he urged Iraqi Christians to show “patience and stay put, asking the government to provide the necessary protection.”

“The incident at the church of Our Lady of Salvation is a very dangerous precedent which I am afraid will put the presence of Iraqi Christians in Iraq in jeopardy.”

“Iraqi Christians were not at all prepared for such a calamity as their numbers have already been halved since 2003,” he said.

In the meantime, he said the option to flee the country was “the worse of two evils.”

“Emigration is a second death, but it happens outside instead of inside the country,” he said.


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