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Series of blasts targets Iraq churches
1/29/2006 6:40:00 PM GMT

web page [aljazeera.com] (AP PHOTO) Iraqi firefighters spray down the scene of an explosion in front
of an Anglican church

At least one died and 20 others, including 13 Iraqi, were wounded in a
series of car bombs that exploded outside four churches in the Iraqi capital
and the northern city of Kirkuk Sunday.
The attack on the Church of the Virgin in Kirkuk which took place at around
4:30 p.m. Sunday killed three civilians and wounded another, Col. Birhan
Taha said.
15 minutes prior to Kirkuk blast, another car bomb exploded outside an
Orthodox church, wounding at least six civilians.
Taha said that both explosives-packed vehicles were detonated by remote
control, The Associated Press reported.
Another bomb exploded also Sunday outside St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church
in the eastern Baghdad suburb of Sina'a at 4:10 p.m., wounding two people,
Maj. Qusai Ibrahim was quoted by AP as saying.
Another car bomb exploded about 20 minutes later outside an Anglican church
in eastern Baghdad's Nidhal area, causing no casualties.
In August 2004, 12 people died and dozens were hurt in a series of bomb
blast that ripped through Baghdad and Mosul, the first significant strike
against Iraq's 800,000 Christians since the U.S. invasion began in 2003.
Violence continued across Iraq on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, a bomb attack outside sweets shop in a town south of
Baghdad killed at least 10 people.
The blast, which took place in Iskandariya, a predominantly Shia town about
40 km (25 miles) from the capital, also wounded five people, police said.

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Associated Press
Update 9: Sunni Leader: Iraq Descending Into Turmoil
By PAUL GARWOOD , 01.29.2006, 01:47 PM

Iraq's top Sunni Arab political leader accused Shiite-dominated security forces Sunday of pursuing a strategy of sectarian "cleansing" in Baghdad and said he opposed giving key Cabinet posts to Shiites - a stance likely to further inflame tensions.

Iraq's ceaseless violence killed at least 20 people, including 13 Iraqi policemen and soldiers. Three Iraqis were killed in a spate of church bombings bearing the hallmarks of Sunni insurgent attacks.

Five coordinated car bombings targeted the Vatican mission and at least two churches in Baghdad and two churches in the northern city of Kirkuk within about 20 minutes.

ABC News co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured Sunday in an attack and roadside bomb blast that targeted their joint U.S.-Iraqi military convoy near Taji, about 12 miles north of Baghdad, ABC News President David Westin said.

Both suffered serious head injuries and were taken into surgery at a U.S. military hospital in the area, the network said. A U.S. military investigation is under way.

The attacks took place as the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants resumed on accusations of involvement in the 1982 killings of more than 140 Shiite Muslims

The proceedings collapsed into chaos shortly after resuming, with one defendant dragged out of court and the defense team walking out in protest. The former Iraqi leader was then escorted out after he shouted "Down with the Americans!" and refused his new court-appointed lawyers.

The trial will resume Wednesday at the earliest.

Churches and the Vatican's mission to Iraq were the latest targets of violence.

Three civilians were killed and one wounded in an attack on the Church of the Virgin in Kirkuk at 4:30 p.m., Col. Birhan Taha said. That explosion came 15 minutes after another car bomb exploded outside an Orthodox church, wounding at least six civilians.

Both bombs were detonated by remote control, Taha told The Associated Press.

In Baghdad, a car bomb detonated at 4:10 p.m. outside The Disciples of St. Peter and Paul Orthodox church in eastern Baghdad suburb of Sina'a, wounding two people, Maj. Qusai Ibrahim said.

About 20 minutes later, another vehicle exploded outside an Anglican church in eastern Baghdad's Nidhal area, causing no casualties, Lt. Ali Mitaab said.

At about the same time, a fifth car bomb exploded about 50 yards from the Vatican mission's building, said police Maj. Abbas Mohammed. Nobody was reported hurt.

The leader of the main Sunni bloc in the next parliament, Adnan al-Dulaimi of the Iraq Accordance Front, indicated he would oppose awarding the vital interior and defense ministries to Shiites.

"We believe that the posts of the interior and defense ministers should be kept away from any sectarian and political considerations," al-Dulaimi told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad.

The Sunni stance sets the stage for a potentially fierce battle with predominant Shiite figures over who will win the portfolios. On Saturday, the head of the Shiite militia, the Badr Brigade, said Shiite religious parties will "never surrender" those ministries.

"We are subjected to a daily slaughter. We will not relinquish security portfolios," said Hadi al-Amri, head of the militia that is the military arm of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Republic in Iraq, the country's top Shiite group and the dominant force in forming the next government.

Control of the two ministries is expected to be one of the biggest obstacles to forming a new government with greater Sunni Arab representation, a key U.S. goal as the talks get under way after last month's election.

Sunni Arab politicians have insisted that the two ministries not go to people closely associated with the Shiite religious bloc, comprising SCIRI and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's Dawa Party, which won the most seats in Dec. 15 balloting.

Al-Dulaimi urged the outgoing Shiite-led government and U.S. forces to ease pressure on Sunni Arabs amid a series of house raids and arrests that have seen scores detained in recent days.

"Mosques and houses are empty because clerics and ordinary men are being chased as if there was a sectarian cleansing in Baghdad," al-Dulaimi said. "Violence only breeds more violence. I demand that this sectarian sedition be stopped.

"When the next government is formed, we will try to end such problems, but we are afraid that the people's patience will run out and the country subsequently will slip into turmoil and disaster."

In other violence across Iraq on Sunday, a roadside bomb in Baghdad's volatile southern Dora neighborhood killed one policeman and wounded another, police said.

A car bomb blast killed a policeman in Baghdad's western Amariyah district, while two policemen were gunned down while leaving work following the end of their shift in the same area.

Drive-by gunmen killed two more policemen as they left the Khadra police station, also in western Baghdad, after finishing work, police said. An Iraqi medic also was killed after leaving work at western Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital, said Dr. Muhannad Jawad from the hospital.

A police captain was gunned down in Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, while an ambush in Baqouba, north of Baghdad, killed one policeman and wounded another, police said.

A massive car bombing killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded six more in Saddam's birthplace of Uja, about 75 miles north of Baghdad, army Capt. Ahmed al-Azawi said.

It was unclear whether the attack was linked to Saddam's trial, the resumption of which was marked by a tough new chief judge taking the stand, the ejection of Saddam's co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim and eventual walkout of the former president himself.

A former high-ranking general in Saddam's disbanded army, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Idham, was assassinated near Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, police said. The motive for the attack was unclear.

Police and Iraqi soldiers are routinely targeted by the Sunni insurgents.

The U.S. military announced the death of an American soldier in a roadside bomb blast in Baghdad on Saturday. The military had previously reported the death of another soldier in a similar but separate attack Saturday in Baghdad.

At least 2,241 U.S. military personnel have died since the war began, according to an Associated Press count.

U.S. spokesman Maj. Jeff Allen said a shootout erupted at a checkpoint in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, and three men wearing Iraqi police uniforms inside a car were shot dead.

American troops captured a fourth man in the car but found no police identity documents on the men. Iraqi police Brig. Serhad Qadir said the four were suspected insurgents disguised as policemen. The U.S. military was investigating the situation.
Associated Press writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.

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What is the Anglican sect doing in Iraq?

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Probably a holdover from the British.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+


Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in baptism he receives the power so to progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such progression. - Saint Gregory of Sinai
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I hope that everyone will finally realize that Islam does NOT and never WILL tolerate Christianity in its midst...no matter how much they tell us that they also believe in Jesus as God's prophet. Cult like faiths do not allow freedom of religion. frown frown frown

Lord have mercy!

Sincerely,
Alice, who is feeling a bit perturbed right now

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A young man shared the other day a reading from his Orthodox friends Koran, that he got to see what it really says. Basically, it said it was far better to kill those who do not believe in Islam than to let the go on not beleiving. So basically they don't care... mad mad mad

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I'm going to differ with a few people here. Christians have lived in Muslim nations, and most of the times quite peacefully. They were taxed though, and many would either convert or leave.

It seems to me that many mistakes were made in Iraq. For one, the Iraqi military under Hussein should have been kept intact and under the control of some appointed Iraqi General. Also, there should have been stronger border control.

All these Sunni insurgents must be supported by Saddams money...which undoubtably is coming from Switzerland through Syria. You know the man is in custody, and yet it seems he still controls things in Iraq. Frankly, I wish they would hurry and string him up.

Zenovia

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In the Ottoman Empire (and the Al-Andalus Caliphate in Spain) Christians lived peacefuly in spite of some restrictions, no wonder why some Monophysites actualy welcomed the Muslims as liberators.

The reason why churches are the target of attacks is the unfortunate generalization of the medias and the fundamentalists that make "American-Protestant" a synonim of "Christian", while in fact most of our Catholic and Orthodox Churches regard these heretics as unbaptized people.

To the ignorant Muslim fundamentalists Christianity is the religion of President George W. Bush and thus every Christian is believed to support the war against Muslim countries. It's also the fault of our Churches for not specifying the differences between us and the Protestants, and the break-away hetherodox nature of Anglo-Saxon religion which is not that of Christ.

Going back to the topic, the Baath had very little sympathy in Iraq, I doubt that many Iraqis would welcome Saddam back to power for example. Those who are fighting, I beleve, just do so because no one would want to see one's own country invaded.

Unfortunately, those young Iraqis who are frustrated will probably become future members of Islamic fundamentalism.

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Dear Mexican,

I have grown up learning that Orthodoxy was simply barely tolerated by the Ottomans who occupied the lands of my grandparents and under whose occupation they were born. That is why Greeks went underground to learn how to read and write and to learn about their faith. It was not as lovingly accepted as all faiths are today in modern America.

Today's offshoot of the Ottomans, the modern Turkish state, a secular one infact, does not tolerate Christianity as you say. If you don't believe me, you might want to ask the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew about this.

Look, I am probably one of the most embracing, loving and accepting (of all faiths and religions) persons around, but I cannot understand, for the life of me, why people want to obfuscate the very reality of Islam and its very real threat to Christianity unless they also believe that 'there is but only one God and his name is Allah and Mohammed is his prophet'

To speak objectively and to accept reality does not mean that one is narrow minded or hateful though perhaps it does make one 'politically incorrect'. For instance, if you tell me that many Greeks in Greece are not very spiritual and/or believing Christians, I would not tell you that you are lying and that you are wrong, (despite the fact that I am of Greek extraction)!

In Christ,
Alice

P.S. If Islam is not cult like then I would like to know why Muslims are threatened with their lives if they convert to Christianity. Ofcourse, for those that believe differently, they can try living in Saudi Arabia. wink :p wink

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What is the Anglican sect doing in Iraq?

Probably a holdover from the time after WW I when Iraq was a British mandate and when the Brits were either assisting or proselytizing among the Assyrians in Iraq.

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What is the Anglican sect doing in Iraq?
========================================================================================================== Did some research on this question awhile ago and here is some of the history:

This isn't the first time Iraq has been occupied by Western forces. Basra, the southern Iraqi city was also the port of entry to British forces in 1915. Britain, responding to the Arabs' appeal for "liberation" from the Ottoman Empire, drove the Turks out to establish the kingdom of Iraq. Yet British involvement there goes back even further, particularly with the native Assyrian (or Nestorian) church, today the largest Iraqi church outside the Chaldean Catholics. And it's a story Christians in the West need to hear.
While Roman Catholic missionaries began laboring among Assyrian Christians in the thirteenth century, the Church of England initiated the first Protestant mission among them in the early nineteenth century. Rather than planting churches in Islamic territories, church officials decided that the best strategy should be to connect with the ancient Assyrian church. Missionaries were to stress they came only to aid their eastern brothers and sisters, not to convert them. The idea was that by offering them education and aid, the Assyrian church would be better positioned to then take the gospel to their unbelieving neighbors. The Church began commissioning missionaries in 1815, one of these making contact with an Assyrian bishop traveling through Constantinople in 1822.
It would be Isa Rassam, a convert to Anglicanism from Chaldean Catholicism, though, who would spearhead the Anglican mission. Arriving in 1840 in the mountainous region now identified with the Kurds, Rassam tracked down the Assyrian patriarch Mar Shimun. While showing him hospitality, Mar Shimun was initially suspicious of Rassam's intentions, fearing that the English wanted to convert his people�as the pope had some centuries earlier attempted, and to some extent succeeded in doing. But Rassam assured him otherwise, saying that it was not the Church of England's wish to "make [the Assyrians] abandon their rites for ours, but to induce them to free and amicable relations." Though Rassam returned home to England, he effectively paved the way for further contact.
Rassam's mission had some serious consequences. He breezed over English concerns that Assyrian Christians held to "heretical" Nestorian doctrine, emphasizing rather what the churches had in common. The mission to the Assyrians won the Anglo-Catholic branch of the Church of England, while the "lower," or more evangelical, branch continued to suspect the Assyrians of heresy. The rift would hamper support-raising for the mission, limiting the number of missionaries and what they could accomplish.
A second consequence had to do with Rassam's own high Anglicanism. Rassam despised the evangelical branch of the Church, and he reacted with hostility when Mar Shimun informed him that American Presbyterians had a few years before planted a mission in Assyria. Rassam informed the patriarch "that there were among us zealous Christians who seemed to have read the Bible to invent new doctrines and rebel against the Church [rather] than to give them increase of wisdom and holiness." Sadly, this bickering between the English and Americans would mark the mission for years to come, and some Assyrian Christians exploited this division to obtain material assistance from both.
Though unintended, Rassam's mission had one other consequence�this one the most serious of all. The Assyrian church feared their Muslim neighbors, the Turks and Kurds�with good reason. In 1843, shortly after Rassam returned home, Kurds invaded Assyrian villages, killing some 10,000 Christians. Rassam's mission of friendship inspired hope among many Assyrians that Britain would protect them from any further assaults. But, as the decades rolled past, Britain would prove unreliable in this regard. In 1918, for example, the year Britain completed its occupation of Iraq, 15,000 Assyrian Christians died fleeing from Turkish troops toward British lines. And other tragedies would follow.
It's a sad truth that since the 1930s, more Assyrian Christians live outside the Middle East than inside Iraq. Britain's refusal to create an autonomous region for Assyrian Christians in Iraq in 1932 provoked Assyrians to clash with the new Iraqi army, resulting in yet another massacre. Years later, the patriarch would declare that this decision sealed "the doom of the most ancient church and nation in Christendom."
(from Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/116/53.0.html

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I'm not seeing this as much reason for believing that "...Islam does NOT and never WILL tolerate Christianity in its midst..." or attributing the destruction of churches to something beyond the terrible dynamics of this civil war.

Let's remember that mosques have also been targeted and hit.

And this does not give Christians many choices: either impose religion and their presence upon a population or leave their ancestral homes.

Surely the rule of law and civil society can be developed everywhere.

As for people who can't wait until Saddam has been executed--how many churches were destroyed while he was in power? Were there any Christians in government under the Ba'ath regime?

Be well.

bob r.

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Dear Mexican,

First of all, the Anglicans are not a "sect" and you don't need to be so freaking offensive to them.

In fact, you should know that Anglicans developed schools and other institutions in Iraq but then TOOK THE CHILDREN TO THEIR OWN CHURCHES and not to the Anglican Church.

This is why the Anglicans enjoy such widespread respect there among the general populace of Assyrian Christians. The Anglicans helped give a proper burial for the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Shimun when he was assassinated and were allowed to take part in the funeral rites.

Anglicans have a reputation for working for and respecting the native Churches. Another example is the Anglican scripture scholar, Henry Martyn, who translated the scriptures into Armenian.

He was so esteemed by the Armenians that when he died, he was buried in Armenian vestments as one of their own bishops!

Also, who are the "Monophysites?" Are they the Copts, Ethiopians etc.?

They are "Miaphysites" as they themselves say and condemn the heresy of Monophysism.

Sorry, but too much is too much . . .

Alex

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Someone asks:
Quote
Were there any Christians in government under the Ba'ath regime?
Yes, Tariq Aziz who was born in Mosul, in northern Iraq. Originally named "Michael Yuhanna", he was the only Christian (a Chaldean Catholic) in the Iraqi leadership.

Yuhanna studied English at the Baghdad College of Fine Arts, and later worked as a journalist, before joining the Ba'ath Party. He changed his name to Tariq Aziz, which means "Venerable Path". In 1980 he survived an Iranian-backed assassination attempt. Saddam's government used this as a justification to declare war on Iran, leading to the Iran-Iraq War.

Audience with the Pope
On February 14, 2003, Aziz had an audience with Pope John Paul II and other officials in Vatican City, where, according to a Vatican statement, he communicated "the wish of the Iraqi government to co-operate with the international community, notably on disarmament". The same statement said that the Pope "insisted on the necessity for Iraq to faithfully respect and give concrete commitments to resolutions of the UN Security Council, which is the guarantor of international law".

.


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