Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/2/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We urge the global readers of Catholic Online to pray for the dead, pray for their families, pray for the wounded and pray for - and stand in solidarity with - our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq.

One report concerning the state of the Church after the security forces stormed in to attempt to rescue the Christians is particularly horrifying. It came from a police officer, "It's a horrible scene. More than 50 people were killed. The suicide vests were filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. You can see human flesh everywhere. Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands." It is time for an international outcry of Catholics and other Christians. We must stand with our Christian brothers and sisters.

Our Lady of Salvation Church before it was besieged by Muslim Extremists

Our Lady of Salvation Church before it was besieged by Muslim Extremists

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/2/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Iraq, Al-Qaida, Catholics, Muslims, extremists, militants, Anti-Catholics, Jihadis


BAGHDAD, Iraq (Catholic Online) - They gathered in Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church for an evening Mass. They are members of an increasingly besieged and forgotten minority in Iraq, Catholic Christians. Their herosm and love for the Lord has inspired them to continue to practice the ancient faith in the midst of what is a steadily deteriorating situation for them in this land they have called home for centuries.

Our Lady of Salvation Church is no stranger to violence. Churches have been bombed before in Iraq, including Our Lady of Salvation. The Christian faithful have had to contend with an increasingly hostile culture. However, never before have they experienced the horror of what happened this past Sunday when terrorists invaded a Church as the Holy Mass was set to begin, killed the priest and held the worshippers hostage for four hours. It ended with at least 52 dead, others injured, and our brothers and sisters in Iraq devastated.

Reports confirm that 120 of the faithful had gathered to hear the Gospel proclaimed, participate in the Liturgy, and receive the Holy Eucharist. There were women, men and children. One eyewitness who had been inside the Church when the terrorists entered the sanctuary told European news sources that the armed terrorists "came into the prayer hall and immediately killed the priest". Out of fear the witness would not identify himself. However, he also attested to the brutality of the terrorists. He indicated that they beat the worshippers and then herded them into an inner hall.

Late Sunday evening a statement was posted on a militant site claiming responsibility for the evil attack. The group called itself the "Islamic State of Iraq". If this is the responsible group, sources affirm that it is linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq. The writers of the posting threatened to "Exterminate Iraqi Christians" if two Muslim women were not freed. The women referenced by the extremists are the subject of two very different claims.

Muslim Extremists claim the two women were Muslim converts. Christians maintain they were Christians kidnapped by Muslims. Reports indicate that the women in question have already been found by the police. They have denied any conversion to Islam and are in hiding.  However, the Muslim militants demand the release of the women and declared in the message "We direct our speech to the Vatican and say that as you met with Christians of the Mideast a few days ago to support them and back them, now you have to pressure them to release our sisters, otherwise death will reach you all."

An Iraqi man whose wife was inside the Church and escaped harm told reporters he believed this act of terror was just the beginning  of a new wave of violence against Christians in Iraq, "I expect the coming attacks will be worse in the future since the government is doing nothing to protect us. We are peaceful people and never harmed any of our fellow countrymen, so we do not understand the reasons behind such evil attacks.Many Christians now believe that they do not have any hope in Iraq and the best thing to survive is to seek another country to live in."

The Muslim extremists held the 120 Christians in their Church for four hours. The Church was finally stormed by Iraqi security forces. When the entire horrid affair was over, at least 52 people were dead and many others severely wounded. Once again, as can be expected, there are conflicting reports concerning just how the deaths occurred, whether at the hands of the terrorists, or in the rescue operation.

The Iraqi minister of defense, Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi, told sources that the hostages were killed or wounded by the Muslim terrorists who had set off suicide vests in the sanctuary. He said "This was a successful operation with a minimum of casualties, and killing all the terrorists." Another government official indicated the police arrested eight of the terrorists and confirmed they were associated with the "Islamic State of Iraq" affiliated with a terrorist group which calls itself "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia". 

The Iraqi force who attempted to rescue the Christians from the Muslim terrorists is an anti-terrorist unit referred to as "The Golden Force". Reports indicate that after four hours they "swarmed the church by helicopter and sent in grenades and smoke grenades, but were rebuffed by the terrorists.." So, they then stormed the Church from the ground.

One report concerning the state of the Church after the security forces stormed in to attempt to rescue the Christians is particularly horrifying. It came from a police officer, "It's a horrible scene. More than 50 people were killed. The suicide vests were filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. You can see human flesh everywhere. Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands."

We urge the global readers of Catholic Online to pray for the dead, pray for their families, pray for the wounded and pray for -  and stand in solidarity with - our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq. It is time for an international outcry.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Middle East

Signs of desperation: Islamic State offers rewards for capture of foreign 'spies' Watch

Image of The multi-month campaign of airstrikes, led by the U.S., have been effective in harming the Islamic State, keeping them unable to operate effectively in Iraq or Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While leaders of the Islamic State have claimed that the airstrikes by the U.S. and coalition allies are ineffective, it has garnered a reaction from them. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Leadership have distributed paper fliers in the north of Syria that they ... continue reading


Pakistani court rules that Christian woman will be put to death Watch

Image of The daughters of Asia Bibi, with a photograph of their mother.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A high court in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore has confirmed the death sentence of a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy, destroying the hopes of her family that the conviction would be overturned or lessened to jail time. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Syria's 1,500-year-old Christian community under imminent threat in civil war Watch

Image of Christian leaders in Syria warn of an exodus on the scale of Iraq, where the 1.5 million-strong community that lived there prior to the first Gulf War is now down to as little as a tenth of its former size.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As reported by Ruth Sherlock of the Telegraph, the Syrian town of Izraa, home one of the world's oldest Christian communities, is under threat by ongoing civil war. The area's Christian community is leaving in fear for their lives, draining a once vibrant oasis ... continue reading


Jordan's Queen Rania denounces ISIS for plunging Arab world 'back to the Dark Ages' Watch

Image of Queen Raina of Jordan says that education and job creation as being the key to thwarting the extremists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Known for her poise and beauty, Queen Rania didn't hold back in denouncing the repugnant activities of Islamic State during a powerful address to the Abu Dhabi Media Summit in the United Arab Emirates. The 44-year-old monarch spoke against the disgusting videos ... continue reading


Defense officials warn that airstrikes are not stopping Islamic State's conquest of Iraq and Syria Watch

Image of Members of the Islamic State ride a captured tank through an Iraqi city displaying their black flags.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's multi-month campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, while a major moral booster for Iraqi forces and a token gesture of support from the United States, may not actually be nearly as effective as the White House has ... continue reading


Religious extremism driving majority of world acts of terror Watch

Image of Groups with a religious agenda are attributed to the majority of incidents over the past few years, according to the author's report.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Instead of making humanity more respectful of their fellow man, religion is one of the factors fueling violence and chaos in the world. Religious extremism, which disallows interpretation and those of other faiths, is the force behind the majority of the acts ... continue reading


ISIS ammo: Deadly terror group can keep fighting for two years, United Nations warns Watch

Image of One anonymous member state has provided information about

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's both a dire warning and lesson to the West when it comes to terrorist organizations.  According to the United Nations, the dreaded Islamic State, or ISIS has enough weapons now to continue fighting for two years unabated. The ironic twist? Most of ... continue reading


The long and painful war against terrorism: 2013-14 the worst years to date Watch

Image of Operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Taliban is one of the militant groups responsible for the most deaths around the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new report has revealed that the number of people who have been killed by militants across the globe has jumped up more than 60% from 2013, reaching a record high of nearly 18,000. This death toll could continue to rise in 2014 because of the escalating ... continue reading


The United Arab Emirates just named these two American organizations as terrorists! Watch

Image of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates throughout the Middle East and North Africa have been designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It came as somewhat of a shock to two Islamic groups in the United States when they found that they were recently included in a list of terrorist organizations by the United Arab Emirates. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Council on American-Islamic ... continue reading


Two U.S. Islamic groups branded as terrorists Watch

Image of Both CAIR and MAS were among more than 80 groups whose designation was approved by the UAE cabinet and announced this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two moderate, mainstream Islamic groups in the United States feel as though they've been tarred and feathered with the same brush. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which describes itself as "America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter