Christian deaths in Iraq ignored

There was little media coverage 10 days ago of the Iraqi Christians massacred in their church in Baghdad by al Qaida terrorists. The Muslim militants burst into the Chaldean Catholic church during evening Mass. They rushed down the aisle spraying the congregation with machine gun bullets and killing two priests. Two suicide bombers set off their vests filled with ball bearings to kill as many people as possible. When Iraqi security forces stormed the church to rescue the worshipers scores more were killed in the shootout as well as the terrorists.

Where was the Iraqi police force in the first place to give some protection? Where were the American soldiers who fought to protect all Iraqi citizens? Has all security in the country been turned over to the Muslim government to safeguard the Christian community? Even under the brutal Saddam Hussein Christians were free to practice their faith without government interference or fear of being killed.

The Assyrian community traces its conversion to Christiani­ty to the 1st to 3rd centuries before the Islamic invasion. The largest Christian group is the Chaldean Catholic Church but there are other Assyrians affiliated with the Church of the East or Syrian Orthodox. All speak Arabic but their na­tive tongue is Aramaic — the language of Christ. At the time of Saddam’s overthrow there were about 1 million Chris­tians in Iraq. Today that has been reduced to one third as many. Christians have fled the wave of violence caused by the U.S. invasion.

What is America doing, if any­thing, to protect the Christian population that is open to attack and killing? In 1999 America and the United Nations invaded Kosovo to protect the Muslim people. Can we do less for the Christian people in Iraq?

JOSEPH B. GESING, Silver Creek

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