Despair. “Church leader urges Iraqi Christians to quit country,” from the BBC, November 7 (thanks to Jockaira):
A senior Iraqi Christian has called on believers to quit the country, after gunmen targeted a church in Baghdad.
Archbishop Athanasios Dawood, who is based in the UK, made his appeal during a service at the Syrian Orthodox Church in London.
The archbishop said Christians had been without protection since the US-led invasion in 2003.
At least 52 people died as security forces stormed a Catholic church in Baghdad to free dozens of hostages.
A number of gunmen entered Our Lady of Salvation in the city’s Karrada district during Mass on Sunday 31 October, sparking an hours-long stand-off.
The militants made contact with the authorities by mobile phone, demanding the release of al-Qaeda prisoners and also of a number of Muslim women they insisted were being held prisoner by the Coptic Church in Egypt.
After negotiations failed, Iraqi security forces stormed the building, before the gunmen reportedly threw grenades and detonated their suicide vests.
On Sunday, Archbishop Dawood advised all Christians to leave Iraq now al-Qaeda had warned of more attacks there….
“The Christians are weak – they don’t have militia, they don’t have a (political) party,” he said.
“You know, everybody hates the Christian. Yes, during Saddam Hussein, we were living in peace – nobody attacked us. We had human rights, we had protection from the government but now nobody protects us.”
He accused the US of not delivering on its promises of democracy and human rights.
“Since 2003, there has been no protection for Christians. We’ve lost many people and they’ve bombed our homes, our churches, monasteries,” he said.
“Why are we living now in this country, after we had a promise from America to bring us freedom, democracy?”…