ABU DHABI -- Muslims and Christians stood together yesterday in praying for victims of the attack on a Baghdad church this week that killed at least 56 people.
Held at St Joseph's Cathedral in the capital, the service was organised by Farid Kufaishi and Ayad Abbas, prominent members of the Iraqi community. The service was attended by Hassan abu Tabeekh, the chargÃ© d'affaires of the Iraqi Embassy, as well as relatives of two of the people who died in Sunday's attack.
"We talked about love and how we can come together," said Mr Abbas, a member of the social and media committee of the Iraqi Business Council. "We believe in peace and are against what is destroying our country".
Located in Baghdad's Karrada district, Our Lady of Salvation Church is one of the largest in the Iraqi capital. The Islamic State of Iraq, a group related to Al Qa'eda, claimed responsibility for the attack on it.
Across the region, Muslim and Christian leaders have condemned the violence. At Amman Catholic Church in Jordan yesterday, a memorial mass drew about 1,500 Jordanian and Iraqi worshippers.
"This is a hideous crime that we condemn," said Bishop Salim Sayegh, the Latin Partiarchate vicar who led yesterday's prayers in Amman.
On Thursday in Cairo, prominent Egyptian Muslims, including leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, rallied to defend the country's Christian minority.
Iraq has about 850,000 Christians. Militants frequently target them, with churches bombed and priests assassinated.