Lives Of Fear for Iraqi Christians

November 7, 2010

Author: Jim Muir

Source: BBC News

A week after the worst single disaster to afflict Iraq's Christians in modern times, the Catholic cathedral in central Baghdad where the killing took place was back in business.

With its windows still smashed and walls scarred and pocked by blasts and bullets, the building had been quickly cleaned up in time for a service at exactly the same hour as the killers struck a week earlier.

As the cathedral was being readied for its first service since the attack, a senior Iraqi cleric in London, Archbishop Athanasios Dawood, called on Iraqi Christians to flee the country because it was so dangerous.

"If we stay, they will kill us," he told the BBC after addressing a congregation of Iraqi Orthodox Christians at a service in London.

"Which is better, to flee or to stay? To be killed or to be alive? But when I say 'leave', my heart is injured inside."

But in Baghdad itself, both Church leaders and Christian politicians seemed unanimous in urging their communities to stay.