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The Plight of the Iraqi Christians -- An Update Following the Attack on the Baghdad Church
By Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli
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"The Plight of Iraqi Christians" was the title of a MEMRI document published over five years ago. The document was published during a period of intense sectarian violence that affected many sectors in Iraqi society, but, as we stressed at the time, the Christians "have been specifically targeted by Islamists, who either accuse them of collaborating with the 'invading crusading army' or label them as infidels. As Islamist pressures mounted in Iraq... Christian businesses were destroyed, Christian university students were harassed and Christian women were forced to wear the veil." In the same document, a Christian was quoted as saying: "Some of the Muslims consider us infidels. We are being targeted. They will eat us alive."[1] His premonition has proven to be tragically accurate.

The Attack on the Baghdad Church and the Massacre of Its Parishioners

On the last Sunday of October 2010, a group of terrorists who identified themselves as members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) mounted a murderous attack on the Our Lady of the Deliverance Church in the Karrada neighborhood in Baghdad, one of the most heavily guarded areas in the capital. About 140 parishioners were in the church at the time, preparing to start their Sunday Mass.

Iraq's special counterterrorism unit, proudly called "the Golden Forces" (al-quwwat al-dhahabiyya), was ordered to free the hostages. In the m

* Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli is a senior analyst at MEMRI.


[1] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 213, "The Plight of Iraqi Christians," March 22, 2005,

[2], November 2, 2010.

[3] November 7, 2010.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 6, 2010. See also MEMRI JTTM report: "ISI Attacks Baghdad Church, Threatens to Attack Christians, Churches Throughout Middle East," November 1, 2010,

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