Freedom remains a precious and rare commodity. As we know yet may often forget, in many parts of the world, freedom of the press or freedom of religion remain aspirations rather than realities.
The Christian Post reported tragic news from a hostage situation at a church in Iraq this past Sunday:
“The death toll from Sunday’s church hostage crisis in Iraq shot up to 52 on Monday while the number of people wounded rose to 67….
In total about 120 churchgoers were taken hostage by the al Qaida-linked terrorists as they were holding service Sunday.
Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul-Qadir al-Obeidi said ‘the terrorists were planning to murder the highest number of hostages’….
Since the attack, Islamic State of Iraq has claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement posted on a radical Islamic website. It also said it would ‘exterminate Iraqi Christians’ if Muslim women are not freed within 48 hours from ministries and churches run by the Christian Coptic church in Egypt.
Across Iraq, security forces were alerted to new threats against Christians.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, meanwhile, said France ‘firmly’ condemned the ‘terrorist action’, which he noted as the latest in a deadly campaign of targeted violence which has already led to more than 40 deaths among the Christians of Iraq this year.
‘France repeats its attachment to the respect of fundamental liberties such as religious freedom and supports the Iraqi authorities in their struggle against terrorism,’ Kouchner added.
In Iraq, ongoing persecution and violence has forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians to flee the country. The UN High Commission for Refugees estimated last year that since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, up to 500,000 Christians had left the country. That translates to about half the Christian population leaving within the short time span of six years.
Sunni Muslim insurgents have frequently targeted members of Iraq’s Christian minority, especially in Mosul, which is home to a large Christian community….”
Read the rest of the article here.
Pray for those around the world who are persecuted for their faith – whatever faith that may be.