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Pope calls on Muslims, Christians to unite after Iraqi church attacks


Pope John Paul II deplored the string of deadly car bomb attacks on five Catholic churches in Iraq on Sunday, calling on Muslims and Christians to unite against "all forms of violence".

He urged them to work together to bring peace and stability to the country.

In a telegram released yesterday by the Vatican, the Holy Father said he is saddened and "deeply struck" upon hearing the news of Sunday's attacks that left at least 11 people dead and 50 others wounded.

A wave of explosions ripped through churches in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul just when parishioners were attending or leaving their places of worship.

"At this time of trial, I am spiritually close to the church and the Iraqi people," read the pope's message, which was sent to the head of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Iraq, Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel-Karim Delly.

The Holy Father renewed his "heartfelt solidarity with priests and the faithful," assuring them of his prayers and "constant commitment to a climate of peace and reconciliation being established in this beloved country, as a soon as possible."

He called on Muslims and Christians, "all believers in the one compassionate and merciful God, to unite and deplore every form of violence and to cooperate for the return of harmony on Iraq's tormented soil."

SOURCE
Pope calls on Muslims, Christians to unite after Iraqi church attacks (Catholic News Service 2/8/04)

LINKS
Bombers target Iraq's Christians (The Advertiser 3/8/04)
Wave of car blasts shatters sanctity of Iraqi churches (Associated Press/The Australian 3/8/04)
Deadly co-ordinated bombs isolate Iraqi Christians (Sydney Morning Herald 3/8/04)
Iraq: Christian churches targeted by bombers (ABC Radio AM 2/8/04)
Patriarch of Chaldean church calls for unity (Middle East Online 2/8/04)
Blasts on Iraqi Christian Churches Kill11 (The Guardian/Associated Press 2/8/04)
At least fourteen Christian Iraqis killed in wave of suicide attacks on churches (Belfast Telegraph 2/8/04)
Leaders condemn Iraq church bombs (BBC 2/8/04)
Iraqi Muslim Leaders Denounce Church Blasts (Islam Online 2/8/04)
Christians respond to church bombings in Iraq (Ekklesia 2/8/04)
Church bomb blasts: declaration of Chaldean Procurator to the Holy See (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Church bomb blasts: no to 'war of religion' (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Church bomb blasts: Statement of Bishop of Mossul (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Church bomb blasts: Pope expresses solidarity to Iraqi Catholics (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Church bomb blasts: Reactions from Baghdad and elsewhere (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Church bomb blasts: Religious sources, "St. Elia was evacuated shortly before the explosion" (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Bomb blasts in churches in Baghdad and Mossul: 2 or 15 confirmed victims? (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/04)
Iraq bombings draw condemnation from Christian leaders (Ecumenical News International 2/8/04)
At least fourteen Christian Iraqis killed in wave of suicide attacks on churches (The Independent 2/8/04)
Chaldean Patriarch: "Debris and destruction everywhere, but we will not give in to discouragement" (AsiaNews.it 2/8/04)
Bishop Rabban: "It is foreign terrorism directed at Christians and the new Iraq" (AsiaNews.it 2/8/04)
Christians in Iraq, two thousand years of history (AsiaNews.it 2/8/04)
The Pope: "Our solidarity goes to Iraqi Catholics" (AsiaNews.it 2/8/04)
Bishop blames massive attack against Iraqi Christians to 'foreign fanatics' (Catholic News Agency 2/8/04)
Pope expresses grave concern, sadness after attacks on churches in Iraq (Catholic News Agency 2/8/04)
Iraq Christians attacked (Catholic World News 2/8/04)
Iraq: bombs blast three churches (Independent Catholic News 2/8/04)
Iraq church bombings: eyewitness reports (Independent Catholic News 2/8/04)
Bombs explode near give churches in Baghdad and Mosul (CathNews 2/8/04)


3 Aug 2004