In the wake of last week's massacre in a Baghdad church, Father Nazar Simaan from the Syrian Catholic Mission in the UK, issued a passionate message today, calling on the west to help protect Christians in Iraq, appealing for Islamic leaders to issue a Fatwa against the killing of Christians and asking the Iraqi government to consider resigning.
Father Simaan writes:
During Mass on the afternoon of Sunday, 31 October at the Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad and while the devout faithful gathered to pray for love and peace among the peoples of their beloved homeland, a band of evil criminals driven by hatred, desecrated the church. They embarked on a campaign of terror by randomly and consistently shooting the defenceless congregation including children, pregnant women, the old and the young. This massacre that led to the shedding of innocent blood of the faithful must rank amongst the most despicable and cowardly act of recent events in Iraq.
Holy Fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us collectively pray for those who have been martyred and who have earned the honour of eternal glory and are now with the saints and angels in heaven.
The heavenly Lord will welcome all those who paid so dearly with their blood. Their martyrdom will bless this church of Our Lady of Salvation making it stronger bastion for future generations and a bigger thorn in the eyes of evil men who do not truly believe in God.
To all nations, political parties and social organisations that believe in human rights, we appeal for their humanitarian consideration and urgent help in protection Iraq's Christians. Specifically and in the name of the one God we all serve, we also appeal to the Heads of Islamic sects Sunni and Shiite and ask them for their help in achieving a better peaceful co-existence by issuing a fatwa that prohibits the shedding of the blood of Christians and the desecration of their places of worship.
To the Iraqi government and to all those aspiring for power in Iraq, who seem almost impervious to the needs of theri people I say: "Shame! Not only have you failed to protect your vulnerable minority but you have hardly mentioned this dastardly act or acted upon it."
Furthermore I say: "the blood of all those martyrs is on your hands and you must be seriously contemplating whether you should resign your posts."
We hold you and those around you fully responsible for this heinous act."
For myself and on behalf of my congregation I offer my deepest condolences to his grace Bishop Metti Mattoka and to all those at the Lady of Salvation Church. Our hearts also go out to to the UK-based relatives if those Iraqi Christian martyrs.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them, Many they rest in peace.
See also: Iraqi Christians demonstrate in Westminster http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=17080