Iraqi Bishops Appeal For Peace, Reconciliation After Bomb Blasts

iraqi-bishops-appeal-for-peace-reconciliation-after-bomb-blasts1.jpgBy Robert Williams
CP Africa and Middle East Correspondent
The appeals are made after a series of blasts in Baghdad on Wednesday killed 95 people and wounded 536 in Iraq’s bloodiest day this year after U.S. forces have withdrawn from the country.

Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni has appealed for the “reconciliation” among all the people of Iraq and for nations to look out for the welfare of all the people and “not the interest of (political) parties.”

“The peace depends on love; to love one another and to do the best for each other, not our of selfishness,” Bishop Warduni said. “Please, we ask the world to pray for Iraq.”

Bishop Warduni has appealed to “everyone, all over the world – small and big nations, organizations and the Iraqi people as well — to do what is best for Iraq, for the good of Iraq and its people, not their own interests.”

“When there’s no peace, we can’t study, we can’t pray, we can’t work; we can’t even walk,” Bishop Warduni was quoted as saying by Catholic News Service.

Latin-rite Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad also told CNS: “We are shocked by this violence. The fear of violence is everywhere.”

Archbishop Sleiman said that Our Lady of Fatima Church in Baghdad was badly damaged in the Aug. 19 blasts. While he said he did not believe the church was specifically targeted, its roof was destroyed as a result of the nearby explosions. There were no casualties, he added.

“Violence is hitting everyone,” the archbishop said. One of the most important challenges, he added, is to encourage the Christians of Iraq.

According to the officials, the series of the blasts on Wednesday were targeting primarily government and commercial buildings; it has claimed at least the lives of 95 people and wounded 536 in Iraq’s bloodiest day this year.

Earlier, on 7 August at least 42 people were killed and 154 wounded in Baghdad in five attacks on the Shiite religious holiday. Also on 9 July, seven Iraqi Churches in Baghdad neighbourhood were bombed within 48 hours claiming four lives and terrorising the Christian community.

In the latest attacks, two people believed to be connected to the bombings have been arrested, an official with the Iraqi army told CNN.

The two suspects were driving in a car rigged with explosives before they were arrested by Iraqi Security Forces, the official said.

The two suspects were believed to be al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, the official said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement that the latest attacks were aimed at “raising doubts about our armed forces, which have proven themselves very capable of confronting terrorists.”