(Source of picture: New York Times)
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Following the double bombing of a convoy of buses carrying Christian students and university workers, the General Secretariat of the Council of the Christian Church Leaders of Iraq (CCCLI) invited members of the Council to convene in emergency session in Qaraqosh. The attack near Mosul in northern Iraq on Sunday 2 May 2010 destroyed three buses and partially damaged two others. One person was killed, and 188 were seriously injured. The buses fell victim to a car bomb and an improvised explosive device (IED) as they traveled from the district of Hamdaniya centre to the University of Mosul.
The Council issued the following statement on Thursday 6 May:
1. We, the heads of Christian churches gathered at the College of St. Ephraim in Qaraqosh, express our deep pain in facing this tragedy that has affected our children the Christian students at Mosul University, and we express our full solidarity with them. This attack is one painful episode in a series targeting Christians, especially painful since these students were defenseless. They are the hope for the future of Iraq, and as a group they have nothing to do with politics.
2. These sad events, affecting the everyday lives of peaceful citizens in all components of the Iraqi people, require a serious review and the concerted efforts of all government officials and political parties in order to give priority to the public interest and the security of citizens. Thus we urgently reiterate our call to expedite the formation of a government of national unity that will work to ensure law, security and safety; any delay will have a negative impact reflecting negatively on the lives of citizens and the task of nation-building. We also call upon the concerned authorities in the province of Nineveh, and especially the members of the parliament from the Hadbaa and Nineveh coalitions, to embrace dialogue and consensus for the benefit of their province and its inhabitants.
3. Given the increasingly large number of university students in the district of Hamdaniya and its neighbourhood (in the centre of the district of Qaraqosh alone there are more than 1300 students), we ask the central government to open a public university in the area to accommodate the students in a safer environment.
4. Further to the incident targeting the buses of the university students on the morning of 2 May 2010, which caused serious physical and psychological damage to a large number of them and which makes it impossible for them to finish their studies and to take their final exams within the campus of the University of Mosul, we demand a solution that will guarantee that they will take their exams in a safe place in the centre of Hamdaniya. It is unjust to let them forfeit the current academic year.
5. In conclusion, we deeply thank all official bodies and persons who have contributed to transfer the injured to health centres, and those who donated blood and covered the costs of the treatment, both from within and outside the country. We also thank all the official bodies, including religious, social and subsidiary agencies, who have shown solidarity with us in this great tribulation.
We pray to God to give comfort to the martyrs and a quick recovery to the wounded and to protect our country from all harm, and to restore to us the gift of peace and stability.
Archbishop Avak Assadourian, Head of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Iraq, Secretary General of the Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq (CCCLI)
Archbishop George Qas-Moussa, the Archbishop of Mosul and its region for the Syrian Catholic Church, Assistant Secretary-General CCCLI
Archbishop Louis Sako, Archbishop of Kirkuk for the Chaldean Church
Bishop Athanasius Matta Mtoka, Archbishop of Baghdad for the Syrian Catholic Church
Archbishop Mor Gregorios Saliba Shamoun, Archbishop of Mosul for the Syrian Orthodox Church
Bishop Thomas Georgis, representative of the Patriarchate of the Ancient Church of the East
Bishop Isaac Kames, representative of the Patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East
Father Najib Moussa, Dominican representative of the Latin Church in Iraq