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Prayer: Iraq: Christians killed in Baghdad church

ICC Note:

Iraqi Christians request prayer after a Baghdad church was attacked by militants on Sunday, killing more than 40 worshippers. 

11/1/2010 Iraq (Middle East Concern) – Iraqi Christians have requested our prayers following a major incident at the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad yesterday (i.e. Sunday 31st October).

There remains some confusion over exactly what happened. In outline, a number of gunmen attacked Our Lady of Salvation Church, killing two security guards before holding the congregation, estimated at 60 to 120 people, hostage. They reportedly demanded that the authorities release some detained militia men. The authorities surrounded the building before storming it four hours later. A number of people were killed in the ensuing gun battles, including the gunmen, members of the security forces and some of the worshippers. Exact numbers are not yet known, but reports speak of five gunmen, seven security men and up to 40 members of the Church. Others were wounded. One report says that three young priests are among the victims, as is a young child.

Claims of responsibility have appeared on websites used by extremists. These claim the attack was motivated by the desire to see fellow extremists released from jail in Iraq, and also link this incident to issues elsewhere. One such link is to reports in Egypt that ladies who have supposedly converted to Islam are being held against their will in monasteries. The Egyptian church has denied such claims.

Christian leaders in Iraq are concerned that this attack might prompt further internal displacement of Christians within Iraq.

Iraqi Christians request our prayers that:

a.      The bereaved will know the peace, presence and comfort of Jesus

b.      The wounded and traumatised will know the healing touch of Jesus

c.       Those involved in providing pastoral care will know the Spirit’s grace and gentleness

d.      Christians across Iraq will know the Father’s protection

e.      The security situation in Baghdad will improve

f.        Any Christians that feel obliged to leave Baghdad will find places of safety, and be able to return soon

g.      Church leaders in Baghdad will know the Spirit’s guidance in all things, especially concerning services

[Middle East Concern]