Iraqi police arrest group that killed Christian family: official

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By Rudaw
Dr. Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, his wife, and mother were murdered in Baghdad last week. Photo: Medical Doctors of Iraq
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The persons allegedly responsible for the murder of three Christians in Baghdad have been arrested, a government official stated.

Saad Maan, spokesperson for Iraq’s Interior Ministry, said on Saturday evening that they have “arrested a band which is responsible for killing a Christian family” in Baghdad, according to state-run Iraqi Media Network.

Dr. Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, his wife Shaza Malik, and his mother Khairiya Dawood were stabbed to death late last week.

Christian leaders say their dwindling community is increasingly under attack in Iraq.

“This means that there is no place for Christians,” said Fr. Biyos Qasha of Baghdad’s Maryos Church in an interview with Rudaw TV.

“We are seen as a lamb to be killed at any time,” he added, claiming that there is a plot to push the minority out of the country.

Rayan al-Kldani, head of the Christian militia group of Babylon, agrees that they are unwanted in Iraq.

“This crime has only one message. Frightening our people and forcing them to leave the country,” he said on Friday.

Fr. Qasha called on the federal government to “work to protect all Christians and all citizens.”

In Iraq’s last census in 1987, some 1.5 million Christians were counted. Prior to ISIS, local groups estimate the Christian population numbered between 400,000 and 600,000. About half the population have left Iraq since 2014 and around 130,000 sought shelter in the Kurdistan Region.