November 30, 2010.
Life in Iraq remains difficult. It's a country ravaged by war, where violence
continues to increase. When Baghdad residents leave their house they
don't know if they will return alive. It's a real danger for all
Iraqi's, but especially for the Christian minority. The situation decisively worsened on October 31 when several terrorists entered the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Baghdad, as Mass was being celebrated.
Injured Iraqi Girl“The life of Christians in Iraq was, until then, more or less normal. There were explosions here and there, but things calmed down. But this time was different.”
Upon entering the Cathedral, the terrorists fired indiscriminately into the audience leaving 58 dead and 75 wounded.Injured Iraqi Girl“We tried to close the church door but the terrorists opened it with bombs. They came in looking for all the young men to kill them. No one tried to attack the terrorists. They began to kill children because their crying bothered them. They killed several crying children.”Fr. Georges Jahola
Iraqi Priest“The attack in Baghdad's Cathedral is unparalleled. Never had anything like this happened. They used to explode cars in the markets and in the doors of churches to create a climate of confusion and terror in the city. With this latest attack, in which they entered into the cathedral during Mass, they are clearly trying to drive Christians out of the country.”
Around 27 of the people who were injured in this attack, and their family members, were welcomed by the Italian government and the Vatican. The injured were treated at Rome's Gemelli Hospital. After this serious and deliberate attack against the Christian community, they are afraid but still say they will not relinquish their religion. They want to protect themselves and their families from being targeted in possible future attacks against Christians. Injured Iraqi Girl“It was unthinkable, no one could believe what was happening in the church. Trying to imagine a slaughter is difficult and it is that much more so when it occurs in a church.”Injured Iraqi Boy
“I was hiding in the sacristy, but in one of the blasts a piece of plaster fell on my head.”Family of Injured Child
“Storming the church in this terrible way was unthinkable. Those who left safely from the attack still have horrible memories of what happened during those hours.”Fr. Georges Jahola
Iraqi Priest“We also lost two priests in the attack. They have died for their faith. They offered to die for the others, for the community that was in the church, they asked that they be killed in order to let the rest go free. But terrorists would not agree. The martyrdom of these two priests strengthens us in our faith. I personally have felt the force of martyrdom from these two priests.”
Despite the thousands of Christians killed for religious reasons, the horrors they have lived through and the persecution they continue to suffer, the faith of these people is reinforced.
Christians in Iraq call for the global community's response to this hatred being committed against Christians. They trust that sooner or later justice will be done.Fr. Georges Jahola
Iraqi Priest“To defend the cause of Iraq, we need sensitive and honest lawyers to investigate the wrongs committed against the Iraqi people. No one has investigated the causes of these latest attacks and this makes us despair and think that the authorities are complicit in this tragedy. After the attack, the church was closed. The next day nobody could go in because it was being cleaned. All traces of the tragedy were elimanted. We want answers.”Family of injured
“There is only one God and He knows who is guilty and he knows how to deal justice to his children.”
“Blood of martyrs, seed of Christians,” a saying that is now repeated in Iraq. The number of Christians there is no more than half a million, out of a population of 32 million people.