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Second Attack in Three Days Against a Chaldean Church in Iraq

Mosul, Iraq (AsiaNews) --- Second attack in three days against a Chaldean church in Mosul. Once again the Church of the Holy Spirit is the target. This morning a group of men fired rockets against the building, whilst an explosive devise was detonated outside a usually unused entrance door, this according to local sources who also told AsiaNews that no one was killed or hurt in the incident. They also suggested that the attackers might be the same people who on Sunday fired some 80 shots against the church breaking some windows and causing minor damage.

For months, tensions have been rising in Mosul, a Sunni stronghold. Some people have suggested that the anti-Christian attacks are linked to the controversy caused by the Pope's speech in Regensburg (Germany). In fact, some flyers making anti-Christian threats were distributed around town last Friday, calling on Christians to condemn the Pope's remarks or be killed and see their churches burnt down.

Mgr Raho, Mosul's Chaldean bishop, had posters pasted on walls saying that "neither Iraqi Christians, nor the Pope, want to destroy the relationship with Muslims." But his action did not prevent violence from happening again.

It is likely that in this as in previous cases, religion is being used for political purposes. In fact Iraqi Muslim leaders, including grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have expressed solidarity and understanding towards the Vatican. A representative of al-Sistani, who is Shia Islam's highest authority in Iraq, has said that he wants to visit the Pope.

In August 2004, the Church of the Holy Spirit was the target of another attack that injured the younger sister of its young parish priest, Fr Ragheed Gani.

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