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Monday, November 1, 2010

For All the Saints...Remember the Martyrs of Baghdad

As you may have heard, there was a terrible tragedy in a Catholic church in Baghdad, Iraq over the weekend.  Terrorists attacked the worshipers and killed dozens of them along with three young priests.
Here is a report from the UK Guardian newspaper:
                                                       Sabah Arar/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images
"At sunset yesterday, Raghada al-Wafi walked excitedly to mass with news for the priest who married her a month ago. Tonight, exactly 24 hours later, she returned to the Our Lady of Salvation church – this time carried by her family in a coffin that also contained her unborn child.
Today the priest who blessed her marriage and pregnancy minutes before he was killed will also be buried, as will several dozen other members of his congregation – all of them slain by terrorists in an attack that has drawn condemnation from around the world and left the fate of Iraq's beleaguered Christian community evermore uncertain ...  Survivors spoke of religious taunts, random killings and then a gunman slaughtering hostages en masse as the Iraqi army stormed the church to end the four-hour siege.
Ghassan Salah, 17, had just arrived for the Sunday night service with his mother, Nadine, and brother, Ghaswan, when the gunmen burst through the cathedral's huge wooden doors. 'All of you are infidels,' they screamed at the congregation. 'We are here to avenge the burning of the Qur'ans and the jailing of Muslim women in Egypt.'
Thar Abdallah, the priest who married al-Wafi was first to be killed – shot dead where he stood. Gunmen then sprayed the church with bullets as another priest ushered up to 60 people to a small room in the back.
Mona Abdullah Hadad, 62, was in church with her family when the gunmen started shooting. They said, 'We will go to paradise if we kill you and you will go to hell', she said. 'We stood beside the wall and they started shooting at the young people. I asked them to kill me and let my grandson live, but they shot him dead and they shot me in the back.'
Hadad was recovering in a Baghdad hospital along with 67 other people, many of them seriously wounded. Part of her kidney was removed yesterday and she remains heavily traumatised."
 Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.  Please keep the Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and throughout the Middle East in your prayers.

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