Source: The New York Times
The blackened shells of five cars still sit in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary here, stark reminders of a bomb blast that killed two people after a recent Sunday Mass.
In the northern city of Mosul, a priest from the Syriac Orthodox Church was kidnapped last week. His church complied with his captors’ demands and put up posters denouncing recent comments made by the pope about Islam, but he was killed anyway. The police found his beheaded body on Wednesday.
Muslim fury over Pope Benedict XVI’s public reflections on Islam in Germany a month ago -- when he quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor as calling Islam “evil and inhuman" -- has subsided elsewhere, but repercussions continue to reverberate in Iraq, bringing a new level of threat to an already shrinking Christian population.
Several extremist groups threatened to kill all Christians unless the pope apologized. Sunni and Shiite clerics united in the condemnation, calling the comments an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. In Baghdad, many churches canceled services after receiving threats. Some have not met since.