Assyrian Organizations Condemn Church Massacre
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(AINA) -- Assyrian organizations around the world have condemned that attack on Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic church on Sunday, which killed 58 parishioners and wounded 75 (AINA 11-2-2010).

The Assyria Council of Europe issued the following statement:

A Catholic church in central Baghdad was attacked yesterday by Islamist militants believed not to be from Iraq. Iraqi forces stormed the church and a gunfight ensued with the militants, who raided the church and took its parishioners hostage. Reports suggest at least 58 people are believed to be dead, including a priest, with 75 people more wounded.

Worshippers were attending their Sunday mass when gunmen wearing suicide vests detonated bombs outside and then entered Our Lady of Salvation church and started killing indiscriminately. Once the attention of the Iraqi security forces was gained, they proceeded to make demands calling for the release of Al Qaeda militants who had been caught and detained. Survivors have spoken of religious taunts and killing at random. The militants started shooting hostages by saying "We will go to paradise when we kill you, and you will go to hell". Iraqi commandos along with American helicopters arrived on the scene shortly after. Questions must be raised about the methods employed during the rescue as many lives were lost in the process.

Violence towards the Assyrian Christian community is a persistent and endemic problem in Iraq. The Assyrians have endured a terrible time since and before Saddam Hussein's removal. Current security is highly inadequate as seen here with a large number of Assyrians being murdered by apparent foreign nationals with criminal intentions.

The Assyria Council of Europe's view is that "Assyrian Christians are once again the victim of a horrendous attack on their culture, their religion, and most importantly, their position within their homeland. This will prompt even more Assyrians to leave in search of safety. It is vital that Assyrian Christians are afforded with the same rights as other ethnic groups in Iraq.

These include being granted a province, in accordance with federal law, which provides a secure geographically defined region where all minority groups, including Assyrian Christians, are given administrative responsibility and the authority to locally derive their security forces. More than 1 million Assyrian Christians have left Iraq post-Saddam, and this cannot be allowed to continue."

The Assyrian Universal Alliance issued the following statement:

The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) condemns the barbaric attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad.The attack happened during worship services on October 31, 2010 and claimed the lives of numerous innocent Assyrian parishioners, priests, and Iraqi security forces.

These criminal acts are targeted against the Assyrian people in an attempt to force them to flee their homeland. We are confident that these criminals will not achieve their goals and that the indigenous people of Iraq will remain in their homeland. The Assyrian nation has over 7,000 years of history rooted in Iraq, and while the nation is shaken, it will pull itself out of the ashes and carry on with its mission of bringing peace and harmony amongst all citizens of Iraq.

The Assyrian Universal Alliance extends its deepest sympathy to the families who have lost their loved ones in this attack, and wishes a speedy recovery to all those who were injured. Bearing in mind both past and present heinous and unrestrained atrocities leveled against our people, we urge our collective national institutions to unilaterally and unequivocally demand justice for Assyrians in Iraq.

We call upon the Iraqi government to take swift and definitive action to stop the vicious attacks against our people, instituting immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis threatening our future in our homeland. As Iraq's indigenous people, the Assyrian nation demands the establishment of an Assyrian autonomous region on our ancestral lands as an integral part of the Federal Republic of Iraq and administrated by Assyrians under the jurisdiction of Iraq's central government, in which we will provide the security forces necessary to safeguard our people.

We appeal to all democratic governments and human rights organizations around the world to take action against what is happening to the Assyrians of Iraq. By fulfilling the Assyrian demand for the aforementioned autonomous region, the government of Iraq will be protecting a peace-loving people and establishing a country in which Iraqis of all religions can live together in harmony.

The Assyrian Democratic Organization issued the following statement:

مساء الأحد 31/10/2010 أقدمت مجموعة إرهابية ظلامية، تنتمي لدولة العراق الإسلامية المرتبطة بتنظيم القاعدة، على اقتحام كنيسة سيدة النجاة للسريان الكاثوليك في بغداد، واقترفت مجزرة في منتهى الهمجية والبربرية، عندما أمطرت برصاص الحقد والغدر،المصلين الذين توافدوا لحضور القداس الإلهي والصلاة من أجل السلام والمحبة. وأدى ذلك لسقوط العشرات من أبناء شعبنا الكلداني السرياني الآشوري بين شهيد وجريح بينهم عدد من النساء والأطفال والكهنة الأبرياء. كما استشهد جراء ذلك، عدد من رجال الأمن العراقي ممّن تدخلوا للإفراج عن الرهائن.

جاءت هذه الجريمة المنظمة والمخططة، بعد أيام من اختتام أعمال السينودس الخاص بمسيحيي الشرق الأوسط، لتوجه رسالة طافحة بالحقد والعنصرية، ولتشير بوضوح لا لبس فيه، إلى عزم الإرهابيين على المضي في مخططاتهم الشريرة في استهداف المسيحيين، وإجبارهم على الهجرة ومغادرة وطنهم، والقضاء كليا على كل أشكال التنوع القومي والديني والثقافي في العراق. ويأتي ذلك في ظل فراغ سياسي مخيف، وعجز كامل للحكومة العراقية وأجهزتها الأمنية في فرض الأمن والاستقرار، وتوفير الحماية الكافية لشعبنا من أعمال القتل والإبادة التي يتعرض لها.

إننا في الوقت الذي ندين فيه وبشدة هذه الجريمة النكراء، فإننا نهيب بأحزاب ومؤسسات وكنائس شعبنا بتوحيد جهودها، من أجل الضغط على الحكومة العراقية، ودفعها للقيام بمسؤولياتها السياسية والقانونية لاتخاذ التدابير اللازمة لتوفير الحماية لأبناء شعبنا وكنائسنا. والتوجه معا نحو المجتمع الدولي، ومطالبته بإقامة منطقة آمنة لشعبنا في سهل نينوى، تحظى بضمانات دستورية ودولية، وتكفل له الحكم الذاتي ضمن إطار الدولة العراقية، كسبيل لا بد منه لتوفير الأمن والاستقرار لأبناء شعبنا الكلداني السرياني الآشوري، وضمان العودة الآمنة والكريمة للمهجرين واللاجئين من أبنائه، باعتباره الخيار الأمثل لاستمرار الوجود القومي والديني والإنساني لشعبنا في وطنه العراق، وذلك على قاعدة التفاهم والعيش المشترك مع كافة شركائه في الوطن.

المجد والخلود لشهداء كنيسة سيدة النجاة، والشفاء العاجل للجرحى.. والخزي والعار لقوى الإرهاب والإجرام من أعداء الإنسانية

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