Guest / Limited Access /
'Religicide' in Iraq
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP / Getty

A ringing doorbell at the Baghdad home of an elderly Christian couple seemed innocent enough five days after Christmas. But when Fawzi Rahim, 76, and wife Janet Mekha, 78, opened their front door, a bomb exploded and took their lives.

The suspected militant attack was one of several on December 30, 2010, when 14 other Christians in Baghdad were seriously injured in their homes. The violence followed the October 31 attack on a Baghdad Syriac Catholic cathedral that killed 68 people, and a declaration by the Islamic State of Iraq, a terrorist group, that it was waging war on Christians.

The militant group claims that Egypt's Coptic Church is holding two women captive because they converted to Islam. Coptic leaders deny the allegations. Analysts believe the militants are using the "Egyptian women" as a pretext to attack Iraq's besieged Christian community.

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, labeled the attacks a "ruthless cleansing campaign by Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish militants." U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called on the government of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to swiftly "apprehend the terrorists behind these acts."

Pope Benedict XVI condemned the growing campaign against Christians in the Middle East in his New Year's Day homily: "In the face of the threatening tensions of the moment, especially in the face of discrimination, of abuse of power and religious intolerance that today particularly strikes Christians, I again direct a pressing invitation not to yield to discouragement and resignation." Benedict made these remarks hours after a car bomb outside a church ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueThe Folly of Answering Fools
Subscriber Access Only The Folly of Answering Fools
It's time to reassess the posture of perpetual outrage.
Current IssueManny Pacquiao, Championship Boxer, Has a New Opponent: Philippine Poverty
Subscriber Access Only
Manny Pacquiao, Championship Boxer, Has a New Opponent: Philippine Poverty
Why the prize fighter is entering politics in his home country.
RecommendedWhy Married Sex Is Social Justice
Subscriber Access Only
Why Married Sex Is Social Justice
It’s not only a solid biblical model—it’s also good for human flourishing.
TrendingDobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Dobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Pew tracks how many evangelicals came to pick Trump for president.
Editor's PickMy Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
My Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
A four-hour visit to the massive replica of Noah's boat left me with a flood of questions.
Christianity Today
'Religicide' in Iraq
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.