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WCC statement on church bombings in Iraq

02 August 2004

The WCC has forcefully denounced the series of bombings which targeted Christian churches in Iraq on 1 August 2004.

Responding to the news, the general secretary of the WCC, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia said "I was appalled to learn about the bombing of churches in Iraq. This action further undermines efforts to rebuild Iraq as a democratic society where all religious communities and peoples can live in harmony. The WCC has worked for many years to foster understanding and dialogue among Muslims and Christians, which have a long history of peaceful co-existence in the region. The Council has been at the forefront of ecumenical efforts to promote peace in Iraq and condemned the US-led intervention in the country. WCC and its member churches have actively supported humanitarian relief work in Iraq since the conflict started. We strongly condemn all forms of violence which target religious communities or any group of people, and which seek to introduce religious enmity into this conflict."

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, in a pastoral letter addressed to the churches in Iraq, has expressed his solidarity with all the people of Iraq as they pass through these critical and turbulent times and has assured them of prayers of support.

Speaking from Cairo, the WCC Middle East secretary Lina Moukheibar emphasized that this was the first time Christian churches had been the object of attack. "We should remember that the escalation of violence in Iraq has affected thousands of people, both Muslims and Christians, and our solidarity is with all victims."

According to reports, the bomb blasts in Baghdad also damaged offices and property of the WCC-related humanitarian organization ACT-Action by Churches Together, as well as of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC).

The text of Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia's pastoral letter to the churches in Iraq is available on our website:

wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/international/pastoral_letter_august04.html