(MNN) — Iraq's
Chaldean community is mourning the June 3rd murders of their church leader and
three deacons. The killings took place in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Unknown attackers gunned down the four Christians, shooting
Father Ragheed Ganni approximately 15 times before driving away in the priest's
car. Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller says
members of the Holy Spirit parish, located in eastern Mosul, waited until 10 p.m. to collect the
bodies from the street for fear they would be attacked.
This may be pointing toward a dangerous trend for Christians
now. "If the extremists succeed in Iraq in squashing the Christian
community there, what is left? Nothing but a power vacuum and power
struggle. The church needs to be
strengthened. It needs to be encouraged, and it needs to be given the tools to
stand up against this kind of violence."
According to a report from Compass Direct, Patriarch
Emmanuel III Delly, head of the Chaldean church, called on the Iraqi government
to take notice of the plight of its Christian minority, which has faced
increasing attacks and harassment in recent months.
Moeller notes that the anti-Christian attitudes of Mosul's predominantly
Sunni population may make outreach more complicated. "They are believers
in Jesus Christ. They're being targeted unfairly. They're being labeled as
anti-Iraqi forces, and they're being gunned down. So we need to pray for them. Our co-workers
are feeling extremely hard-pressed right now to keep the church strengthened
and moving along."