Shameful attacks

Iraqis’ list of woes is too long, sadly, to allow for more to be added, yet the recent tensions between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority came to lengthen it, adding a new dimension to the religious problems in the country.

A series of church bombings over the past few days killed four people and injured scores of others. The bombing of churches in Baghdad and in the predominantly Christian towns of Tilkaif and Hamdaniya, near the northern city of Mosul, is most worrying, as it aims at damaging the centuries-old religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence of Iraqi Christians and Muslims.

One of Islam’s hallmarks is religious tolerance and harmonious relations with other monotheistic faiths, and the attacks targeting Iraq’s Christian minority is shocking and clearly un-Islamic.

These attacks must be condemned not only by the Iraqi government but by everybody in the Arab and Muslim worlds as most disturbing and as a serious threat to this Arab country’s unity.

The Christian minority needs the support of Arabs and Muslims, coupled with a pledge to consider attacks on them as serious crimes that should not escape harsh punishment.

Warfare against minorities in Arab countries must be stopped. And while not absolving the local elements bent on such ignoble behaviour, there must be awareness that foreign agents working to serve foreign interests could very well be behind the bombing of churches in Iraq.

Fuelling more sectarian tension could serve the interests of some foreign powers who would want nothing better than to ignite more conflict in the heartland of this Arab nation in order to further weaken and dividethe Arab world.

All possibilities must be investigated, for the Iraqi government to be able to know for sure who is really behind these shameful attacks on Iraqi Christians, and bring them to justice the soonest.

The outcry from Arab countries should be as vocal as when condemning Shiite-Sunni fighting, but the biggest role will have to be played by the Iraqi government itself to stop such conduct immediately