Six churches attacked during worship services

Six churches attacked during worship services
Terrorists in Iraq have attacked Christians before, but never like this. Previous attacks have focused on liquor stores, which tend to be operated by Christians since Islam forbids alcohol sales. Other attacks on Christians seem to have been more directed at general chaos or against foreigners. But yesterday's attack on six churches in Baghdad and Mosul was the first against native Iraqi Christians as Christians. (AP has video, BBC has a photo gallery.)

One church was in the middle of Communion. Another congregation was listening to the sermon. Still another was reportedly in the middle of a funeral service. By the end of the bombings, which were apparently coordinated over a 30-minute period, at least 11 people were dead and 52 injured. That number is expected to rise, says The Guardian. "We are expecting a huge number of casualties," an Interior Ministry official told Reuters.

The first attack was against the Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad's Karada district. As with four of the six attacks, it was a car bombing. It was about 6:30 p.m., and the service had only just begun. (Christian churches hold services in the evening because Sunday is a workday in Iraq; the weekend is Thursday and Friday.) After the explosion, parishioners ran outside, only to witness a similar attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Church Assyrian Catholic Church about 500 yards away. Shortly thereafter, St Peter and St Paul Church, next to the Chaldean Catholic Seminary in Dura district, and the St. Elijah of Heyra Church in the New Baghdad district were bombed. Most of the deaths occurred at St. Elijah's, since congregants were leaving the service when the ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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