The Synod of the Chaldean Church, scheduled for Oct. 19-21 in Baghdad, has been postponed as a result of the increasing violence and worsening security situation in the war-torn country of Iraq. The decision to postpone the gathering was made prior to Saturday’s multiple attack on five Baghdad churches.
In an interview with Italy-based AsiaNews, the procurator of the Chaldean Church in Rome, Philip Najim, told the news agency, “It is clear that these attacks were carried out to stop Sunday’s religious functions,” adding that “they are the work of shadowy foreign forces, not Iraqis.”
“Iraqi Muslims do not strike at their Christian brothers,” Najim said. “Instead, these terrorists came from outside to force Christians out of the country”.
In the apparently coordinated strike against Iraq's Christian community, bombs exploded near five churches around Baghdad on Saturday morning, causing damage but no casualties.
“We heard a loud bang and when we went out in the morning we saw that our church was seriously damaged,” said a member of Saint Thomas Chaldean Parish in the Mansour district.
“We are scared. We have not gone to mass in our church since last August for fear of attacks,” the member added. “Luckily, no one was near the building and so no one was hurt. But it was a big blow; the church suffered serious damages.”
The violence resumed hours later when a mortar round was fired into a car park between a hotel and St George's Anglican Church, witnesses said. The mortar round struck directly opposite the church but it was unclear whether it had been the target, an AFP reporter said.
Although fear was noticeable in the voices of eyewitnesses of Saturday’s attack, Najim stressed that the decision by Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel Delly to postpone the Synod of the Chaldean Church prior to the multiple attacks.
Meanwhile, some Iraqi Christians are certain that Saturday’s attacks are related to recent statements made by Muhammad Bashar al-Fayyaadh, who accused Christians of not having condemned U.S. raids against some mosques in Ramadi.