Lebanese Christian and Muslim clerics denounce church bombings in Iraq

AP
2 Aug 04

BEIRUT, Lebanon


Leading Christian and Muslim clerics on Monday denounced the wave of
church bombings in Iraq as violence that harms both Christians and
Muslims and called for dialogue and solidarity to solve disputes and
prevent such acts in the future.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid also condemned the bombing,
indirectly blaming Israel.

"The results of such attacks are a service to the Israeli project
... which is based on the clash of civilizations, cultures and
religions," he said.

A series of explosions outside five churches Baghdad and Mosul Sunday
killed at least seven people and injured more than 30 in the first
major assault on Iraq's Christian minority since the 15-month-old
insurgency began. There was no claim of responsibility, though they
assailants are believed Islamist militants.

"Neither Islam nor Christianity will accept violence as a way to solve
problems," said Aram I, head of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the
diaspora.

An Armenian church in Baghdad's Karada neighborhood was one of those
attacked. Iraq has an Armenian community of some 15,000 people.

"Violence in all forms and expressions is against human and religious
values and principles. We have repeatedly stressed the need for
dialogue, solidarity, mutual tolerance, respect and understanding,"
Aram I said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press.

He called on the Iraqi government "to take the necessary measures to
protect the rights and the well being of all the citizens."

Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hussein
Fadlallah, said the church bombings should be viewed "in a rational
manner away from the emotional instincts," saying the perpetrators
purpose was to spread sedition between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and
between Muslims and Christians.

"Our relations as people of the Divine Books make it imperative to
continue to communicate and stand together against the sedition
mongers ... those local and those coming from abroad, and those who
bring in with them sedition mongers from the Israeli Mossad
(intelligence)," Fadllalah said in a faxed statement.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress