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Our Lady of Salvation church after the attack
Photo from Ankawa.com
On October 31, at least 46 Christians were killed and more than 80 others severely injured when Islamic militants stormed the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad's Karrada district during Mass. The gunmen, armed with automatic weapons and explosives, entered the building and demanded that the Coptic Church of Egypt release Iranian women, whom the extremists claim voluntarily converted to Islam and were locked up by the church. The men then shot a priest and began spraying the crowd with bullets. Hours of terror, confusion and bloodshed followed.

One of the gunmen reportedly called a local TV network during the siege. He said he was part of the Islamic State of Iraq, a group linked to al-Qaida, and demanded the release of the Muslim women within 48 hours. After four hours, security forces stormed the church and put an end to the hostage situation.

Later that evening, a cryptically worded statement that appeared to claim responsibility for the attack was posted on a website belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq. The statement said that an "angry group of mujahideen from among the supporters of Allah raided one of the filthy dens of idolatry that was used by the Christians of Iraq as a headquarters to fight the religion of Islam." The group also stated that it would "exterminate Iraqi Christians," if the Muslim women in Egypt were not freed.

At press time, the total number of causalities from the attack was still being confirmed. Most reports indicate that 58 people were killed and at least 80 injured.

Pray for God's abiding comfort for those mourning the loss of loved ones. Pray that even in the aftermath of this brutal violence, Iraqi Christians will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart. (Hebrews 10:32-39; Hebrews 12:1-3). Pray for peace and stability in Iraq.

For more information on the suffering of Iraq's Christian community, go to the Iraq Country Report.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC is partnering to teach and equip persecuted Christian women sewing skills so that they can provide a sustainable source of income for their families and give them the opportunity to be witnesses for Christ through their new businesses. VOMC partners to provide biblical training on discipleship and the theology of persecution to Muslim Background Believers.

Project Funds: Women’s Ministry, Equipping the Saints, Underground Church

Country Information

Population
39,650,145 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab (75-80), Kurdish (15-20), Turkoman, Assyrian, and other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (95-98), Christianity (1), other (1-4)

Leader
President Barham Salih (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system

Mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iraq

Pray for the protection of the remaining believers in Iraq during this time of upheaval and danger. May many churches and Christian relief organizations seize the opportunity to provide greatly needed assistance and ministry to the numerous suffering people of this war-torn nation. As God’s work of healing, provision and restoration takes place, pray that a stable democratic government will be established.

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