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13 November 2006


medium_20061110iq001.jpg (Compass Direct News)Unknown assailants bombed the entrance of a Catholic church in Mosul last week, destroying three sets of doors as well as windows in the church, monastery

guest house.

A source near the church at the time of the November 1 blast told Compass that the explosion at 7 p.m. shattered the exterior iron doors of the Dominican Clock Church compound and flattened two sets of wood doors. The discharge ripped through the windows of the monastery chapel where Dominican priests were holding evening prayer.

No one was harmed in the blast.

“The whole area heard the explosion, it was so big,” said one eyewitness of the destruction, speaking to Compass on condition of anonymity the evening after the attack.

Three Dominican priests had returned to the church to celebrate mass on Sunday (October 29), after spending a week outside Mosul to avoid the city’s daily violence.

“They were afraid of kidnapping but never thought that anything would happen to them if they were inside the church compound,” a source close to the priests commented.

The Dominicans believe the attack was more than just a random act of violence, the source confirmed, requesting anonymity for security reasons. “You don’t set off a blast that big unless you are planning something more,” he said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Living with Violence

Fearing further violence, the Dominican priests have relocated to one of several villages outside of Arbil, 50 miles from Mosul, in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region.

Blown out window from bomb
The move reflects a growing trend among the country’s Christians. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing their homes every month.

Thousands of families have migrated to the northern region as a result of sectarian fighting in many southern cities that at times has targeted Christians. Still, each week Christians in the northern city of Mosul report kidnappings, killings and extortion at the hands of Islamic extremists.

Priests from Mosul told Compass that they no longer wear their clerical robes on the street and rarely go out in public.

In October, a Syrian Orthodox priest was kidnapped and beheaded in Mosul, and a Chaldean church was attacked.

“All of this has put an end to our apostolic ministry in Mosul,” one Catholic priest who requested anonymity told Compass.

Built in 1872, Mosul’s Clock Church and its large clock tower are almost as time-honored as the country’s Dominican order, established in Iraq more than 250 years ago.

But a source close to the Dominican order told Compass that the priests have been encouraged by new opportunities in Iraq’s more secure Kurdish region.

“There is a new hunger and thirst among the young people in the north that has been speaking to their hearts,” the source said.

One Dominican father has been asked to teach seminary courses in a Christian village and to work with a Christian organization for the handicapped.

“It’s our responsibility not to despair,” said one priest, sharing his struggle to believe that God had heard the church’s prayers for peace in Iraq. “What can they do to us anyway, other than kill us?”

10:40 Posted in IRAQ | Permalink | Comments (3) |  Facebook |


BAGHDAD — Four more soldiers were charged with rape and murder in connection with the slaying of a young Iraqi woman and her family in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, the U.S. military announced Sunday.
Another soldier was accused of failing to report the offenses but was not believed to be involved in the attack, a military statement said. The soldiers, who are from the 101st Airborne Division and whose names were not released, were charged Saturday.

In all, six soldiers have been implicated in the March 12 incident, the latest of several alleged crimes by U.S. servicemembers in Iraq. Ex-soldier Steven Green was charged with one count of rape and four counts of murder. He pleaded not guilty to killing the young woman, her parents and 5-year-old sister.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in Green's case, Green and others targeted the young woman for a week before the attack. Army spokesman Paul Boyce said investigators were trying to determine the age of the young woman. Military spokesman Maj. Mark Wright said investigators have asked Iraqi authorities to help navigate cultural sensitivities to exhume the body.

The soldiers drank alcohol, abandoned their checkpoint, changed clothes to avoid detection and headed to the victims' house, about 200 yards from a U.S. military checkpoint, the affidavit said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week called for an independent investigation. He also questioned why U.S. troops receive immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for crimes committed there.

Mahmoudiya Mayor Mouayad Fadhil applauded the new charges and said he hopes the United States continues to investigate.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey Jr., and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad issued an apology last week for the Mahmoudiya incident, saying, "the alleged events of that day are absolutely inexcusable and unacceptable behavior."

Military investigators are looking into at least five incidents in which U.S. troops are accused of killing Iraqi civilians. Among them: the alleged killings by Marines of 24 Iraqis in Haditha in November.

The string of recent allegations hurts U.S. and Iraqi government efforts to win over ordinary citizens and undermines support for the insurgency.

"Stories like this accusation and the others are like losing a battle," says Andrew Krepinevich of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a defense policy group. "Whether they're true or not, they can be viewed as a significant setback for us."

Posted 7/9/2006 8:57 AM ET

Posted by: 4 more soldiers accused of rape, murder in Iraq | 13 November 2006

Human rights abuses in Iraq are worse under the Christian American occupation than they were under Saddam Hussein. Under Saddam, if you agreed to forgo your basic right to freedom of expression and thought, you were physically more or less OK.

But now, no. Here, you have a primitive, chaotic situation where anybody can do anything they want to anyone.
The scale of atrocity now extends over a much wider section of the population than it did under Saddam.

So, what is consuming the world: the acknowledged terrorism of Muslims or the unacknowledged terrorism of the United States and its allies?

Posted by: Torture, abuses worse than under Saddam | 13 November 2006

When approached by ABCNEWS' Brian Ross in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Father Marcial, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped Ross's hand. It does not inspire much faith!

The Vatican was also accused of a cover-up yesterday when its refusal to open Nazi-era archives prompted a panel of Catholic and Jewish historians to suspend an investigation into the church's role in the Holocaust.

Posted by: Priestly Sin, Cover-Up | 18 November 2006

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