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Expression of sympathy following deaths at Baghdad's Kadhimiya Mosque

01 September 2005

Letter to H.E. Mr Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq, 1 September, 2005



Your Excellency,

On behalf of the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 347 member
churches all around the world, I express my condolences and concern at the recent
tragedy in your country. The stampede that resulted in up to a thousand deaths,
mostly women, children and elderly people and injuries to hundreds of others,
occurred while members of the Shi'a community gathered at Baghdad's Kadhimiya
Mosque, to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Imam Ibn Jaafar Al-
Khadim. It is indeed painful and heart-rending that this should have happened
on such a solemn occasion.

This incident, however, is a direct result of the present environment of fear and
intense security measures that have worsened in the country since the occupation
by foreign military forces. The World Council of Churches has consistently advocated
for sustained diplomatic efforts to restore peace in Iraq to enable the people
to lead a normal life with dignity. This tragic event comes as a grim reminder
to the international community of their obligation and urgent need to restore
peace and justice for all communities in Iraq.

We request Your Excellency to convey our heartfelt condolences and deep sympathy
to the victims and their families and to the leaders of the Islamic community.

We pray that God in His mercy give courage and patience to those who have
suffered and lost their near and dear ones. We also pray for Your Excellency and
the leadership of Iraq as you endeavour to meet the humanitarian and emotional
needs of the people of Iraq in the aftermath of this unfortunate tragedy.

Assuring you of our prayers and continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary