Iraqi massacre in Syriac church: 52 killed and scores injured

London, UK

The Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), syrian-church-destroyed-inthe recognised United Nations NGO representing the Aramean (Syriac) people worldwide, sharply condemns the latest and most horrific massacre in the Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad where 52 Christian Arameans and Iraqi police were slaughtered by Al Qaeda linked forces. 


The Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Church became the sacred place in which more than 100 Syriac Catholics took refuge during the Sunday mass. What resulted was a bloodbath in which 52 Aramean (Syriac) worshippers and police were killed and 67 are reported to be injured. Reports suggest that the dead included at least 10 policemen, two priests and five to eight of the attackers. This is the largest number of targeted Iraqi Christians to be killed by Islamic militants. The Islamic State of Iraq, which took responsibility for the horror, is a well known al Qaeda affiliated group.

The Islamic group subsequently posted a statement on Islamist websites saying that it would "exterminate Iraqi Christians" if two Christian women in Egypt (who were forcibly converted to Islam) were not freed. This is common practice for Islamists who often connect external events in order to trigger local violence against the native Christians.

The attack on the Aramean (Syriac) Christians was aimed at driving the innocent and embattled Christian people out of Iraq, said the Iraqi Human Rights Minister Wijdan Michael. While Iraqi Christians once numbered 1.5 million, some reports have them at approximately 600,000 today. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently documented the disproportion of the Christian refugees when showing that they made up a staggering 40% of all Iraqi refugees yet only made up 4% of Iraq’s population before the eruption of the war in 2003. The Christian Aramean communities in Iraq, including the Chaldeans, Syriac Orthodox, Nestorians (sometimes called Assyrians) and Syriac Catholics, have long been targeted with daily intimidations, deaths, rapes, kidnappings, bombings and threats leading to a global diaspora of Arameans who were forced to flee their homeland.

Mr Daniel Gabriel, the SUA Human Rights and UN NGO Director states that “I am trying to hold back the emotion resulting from this massacre. This is completely intolerable. The murders of the Christian Aramean hostages seem to have been partly triggered by a completely unprofessional rescue mission carried out by over-zealous Iraqi police forces. It took place while American forces watched on. The central issue, however, is that attacks on Christians is a systemic and inherent problem in Iraq. This has been prevalent in the past and will continue for years to come if action is not taken immediately. Iraqi society itself must change and the Iraqi Government must stop the rhetoric and focus on meaningful actions to stop the pouring of Christian blood.” 

Mr Johny Messo, President of the Syriac Universal Alliance notes: “I call on the Iraqi Government, Iraqi Security Forces and American Soldiers to take all actions possible to protect the Christian Aramean people in Iraq. There are reports that the Iraqi police were informed many days before the incident by the local Aramean (Syriac) priest that the Church was under threat. Yet nothing was done to protect the members of the Church. I ask the Iraqi Government to investigate the entire matter, particularly the negligence of the local police and security forces. I also ask the Arab League, all Islamic Countries and Islamic Leaders in the Middle East to publicly condemn the ongoing violence in Iraq which targets the Christian Aramean communities. We realize that the solution to all this violence cannot be implemented overnight, but concrete steps towards eroding the sectarian violence against the Christian Aramean people must form part of any short and long term working plan in Iraq.”

The Syriac Universal Alliance urgently calls upon the general public, media outlets and all those concerned with protecting human rights, to help the Aramean (Syriac) people. The Christian Aramean communities in Iraq are facing the worst possible threat and there is no time to waste.




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