Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue

Churches call for support for Iraqi Christians


The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) is requesting the Australian Government do all that it can to support the safety and wellbeing of Christians in Iraq, following the death of more than 50 Catholics during a Mass in Baghdad.

On 31 October, gunmen with links to Al Qaeda took over 120 faithful hostage at the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation during Mass. When the Iraqi military raided the cathedral to free the hostages, more than 50 people, including two priests, were killed in a firefight and the explosion of suicide vests by the terrorists.

"The NCCA shares the grief of Iraqi Christians following the deadly attacks whilst people attended church in Baghdad," NCCA General Secretary Reverend Tara Curlewis said. "With broken hearts we mourn the tragic and violent deaths of our brothers and sisters."

Ms Curlewis said that the situation has become dire in recent weeks, with reports that Al Qaeda has issued a fatwah giving authority to kill Christians in their homes, at work and on the streets.

"The homes of Christians in the last few weeks in particular have been invaded, with the killing of six and 36 injured," Ms Curlewis said.

This week, Australian cities have seen public rallies calling for an end to the persecution of Christians in Iraq, while prayer services for peace have also been held in churches around the country.

Ms Curlewis said that as well as calling on the Australian Government for its support, the NCCA is praying for the churches in Iraq and supporting its partners working for peace in Iraq.

Visit The National Council of Churches in Australia


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