Iraqi churches bombed

By July 17, 2009

Iraq (MNN) — Between July 11 and
July 13, seven Christian churches were bombed in Baghdad and Mosul. At least four people died, and about 30
received injuries, Voice of the Martyrs-Canada reports. 

Two bombs exploded at Baghdad's
St. Joseph Church on July 11, and more bombs struck five different churches in
the city the following day.  A car bomb
went off near Our Lady of Fatima Church in Mosul on July 13. 

VOM Canada's
Adelle Konyndyk said the violence is nothing new for Iraqi Christians. 

"For quite some time now
Christians have been under fire from Islamic militants in such violent attacks
seeking to drive them from the country or to force them to convert to Islam,"
she explained. 

It's not clear why churches are being
targeted, she added.

"Some sources speculate that it
could be connected to some of the new security measures in place, and that
insurgents are probing and challenging and sort of testing those measures," Konyndyk
said.  "But it really is hard to say what
has exactly caused these specific, orchestrated attacks on Christians."

While many believers have been
leaving the country to escape persecution, others stay. Some go underground, but others continue
worshipping God publicly, in buildings such as the ones that were bombed. Christians fear the attacks on churches could
escalate and intensify. 

VOM Canada is working to support
the believers, Konyndyk said. "We accurately
share with the media and with the public what is going on here, and why
Christians specifically are facing such violence." VOM also prays for the believers and encourages
others to do the same. 

"People can pray specifically in
this situation for those who have lost loved ones [and for] those who witnessed
these attacks and were affected by them," Konyndyk said, "that they will not be
driven out by fear, that they will just continue to serve boldly. Just continue to pray also for the church
in Iraq as a whole, that they will be strong and that they will in fact find
new opportunities to minister even in this time of violence." 

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