At Least Seven Churches Were Bombed in Iraq
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(AINA) -- At five o' clock today, a few hours after the bombs had detonated; one of the churches in central Baghdad held an Epiphany mass.

"We have decided to continue to go to church, let them bomb us, we've had enough. It's our country too. If they want to wipe us out, they'll be able to do it anyway. I will die proud," said my colleague and friend, Daniel, angry but decisive, when I eventually got hold of him.

The church Daniel goes to has survived with a few minor scrapes and, according to reports, none of the congregation has been injured.

Mosul's Chaldean archbishop, Farac Raho, confirmed on the TV channel Ishtar that four churches have been bombed in his hometown. He also stated that the attackers have used both car bombs and explosive charges.

"I'm very upset. That the explosions went off at the same time proves that this was part of a plan. Both our Moslem brothers and we had just celebrated Eid and Christmas at the same time this year and everything went well. But the opposition have never really stopped pointing their weapons at us. Now they must stop attacking Iraq's original people and aim their weapons against their true enemies. Iraq's government must immediately act against violence directed towards us Christians.

I called an Assyrian journalist, who previously lived in Mosul but has now fled to Syria, and asked what he thought about the archbishop's comment.

"He has it completely correct. They tricked the Christians; they let them celebrate Christmas in peace, made them believe that the Islamic community had accepted the birth of Jesus, when it was only so they wouldn't disrupt Eid, their own religious festival. For me this is no surprise. Fundamentalists have decided to drive us to flee once and for all. Instead of aiming their weapons at the Americans they are aiming them at us. This is not the first time. The USA and the rest of the world can no longer close their eyes to this attempt at ethnic and religious cleansing. There is genocide at work in front of the whole world and no one intervenes.

"Do you think that we can really call this genocide?" I asked him carefully.

"What is genocide if not a wiping out, if all the Christians are forced to flee, then they are wiped out, at least from what has been our homeland for more than five thousand years." He answered angrily.

Iskander Bikasha, one of the editors of, has been in contact with Iraq many times today.

"Many believed that it had become a little safer for non-Moslems in Iraq but now even those who held that hope have begun to waver. It's not just churches that are being bombed but even monasteries and convents. I spoke with one of our correspondents a few minutes ago and he described, amongst other things, a heart-breaking interview he had with a terrified nun.

"It's a war but we are not at war. We are not a part of this war. We carry no weapons. We kill no one. We turn the other cheek. A day doesn't go by without us hearing reports about Assyrians, also called Chaldeans and Syrians, who have been killed."

By Nuri Kino

Nuri Kino is a journalist in Sweden specializing in investigative journalism, and is one of the most highly awarded journalists in Europe (CV). He is an Assyrian from Turkey. His documentary, Assyriska: a National team without a Nation, was awarded The Golden Palm at the 2006 Beverly Hills Film festival.

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