November 21, 2011
More than a year after an attack on a Baghdad church left 58 dead, Christians in Iraq's capital say they still fear for their lives, Christian Today reports. "Living in Iraq means living in fear," said Amir Jaje, superior of the Dominican Order in Baghdad. "There's no feeling safe, and during the last two or three weeks the situation has got worse, because of tensions among political parties." He said congregations felt anxious despite police protection outside churches, and feared infiltration by the Islamic extremists who were behind the deadly attack last year. Iraq faces uncertainty as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw completely by the end of December, turning over peacekeeping responsibilities to Iraqi security forces; Jaje warned that in such times of unrest, minorities "suffer the worst consequences." Thousands of Iraqi Christians have left the country in precaution, finding refuge in Europe, the U.S. and neighboring countries like Syria and Lebanon, but Juje said those still left were not despairing: "Our hope is like a small candle still burning in a dark tunnel. And I believe we will not lose this hope."