Sunday, September 17, 2006
Although Iraq's Sunnis and Shias have united against Pope Benedict XVI's remarks made earlier in the week in Germany - interpreted as an insult to the Muslim faith - Iraq's Christians are beginning to pay the price. On Friday there was an attack on a Syriac Catholic church where one man was killed. A second Assyrian Christian was stabbed to death in Baghdad yesterday.
A new insurgent group called the "Kataab Ashbal Al Islam Al Salafi," (Islamic Salafist Boy Scout Battalions) has distributed papers announcing the slaying of all Iraqi Christians in three days if the Pope does not apologize. According to the groups' website, website, islammemo.cc, the bishop of the Syriac Catholic Church has asked the government of Iraq and the coalition forces to intervene and offer protection to native Christians.
Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he is very sorry about the reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, made in a speech Tuesday, which angered Muslims around the world, and added the remarks were intended to establish a "frank and sincere dialogue." Benedict sparked the controversy when, quoting from an obscure Medieval text, he cited the words of Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, as "evil and inhuman."