Islamic-Catholic committee condemns attacks on Iraqi churches

 The Islamic - Catholic Liaison Committee has today condemned the attacks against the churches in Iraq on Sunday, which led to the death of an unknown number of people and "the terrorist acts that continue to be perpetrated in Iraq and that involve also the civilian population". "We condemn in particular the suicide attacks in areas in which are located places of worship, both against Muslims and against Christians gathered for worship," reads the document signed by Professor Hamid Bin Ahmad al-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue (based in Jedda in Saudi Arabia) and Mgr Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. "Such acts of blind violence offend the sacred name of God and true religion," continues the statement, published on the Vatican website. "They evidence a gross misunderstanding of the history and culture of this sorely tried country. They represent a grave threat to peaceful coexistence and the ordered development of Iraqi society." In their short statement the representatives of the Islamic and Catholic worlds express their hope that "the Iraqi people may finally enjoy the gift of peace, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and genuine collaboration among all its citizens of whatever religious On Monday world church leaders condemned the attacks. The Holy Father said he was saddened and "deeply struck" upon hearing the news of Sunday's attacks that also left 50 people wounded. He called on Muslims and Christians, "all believers in the one compassionate and merciful God, to unite and deplore every form of violence and to cooperate for the return of harmony on Iraq's tormented soil." The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, said he was "appalled to learn about the bombing of churches in Iraq", adding that the violence could further undermine "efforts to rebuild Iraq as a democratic society where all religious communities and peoples can live in harmony". Two of the bombed churches were Syrian; two others were Armenian Orthodox, and one a monastery. The Catholic agency, Caritas Internationalis, has put the toll in Baghdad alone at up to "16 dead and at least 40 severely wounded". "The victims are mainly Christians, who attended the churches, but probably also Muslim Iraqis, who happened to pass by," Caritas said. Source: MISNA/CISA

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