Attacks on Shiites "Inhuman," Says Patriarch

BAGHDAD, Iraq, MARCH 3, 2004 ( Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly of Babylon of the Chaldeans described Tuesday’s attacks against the Shiite community as an “inhuman act.”

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A series of explosions in the holy city of Karbala and in Baghdad killed 271 and wounded 393 at the height of the Shiite religious celebration of Ashoura,

“We are bitter and upset over what occurred yesterday to our Muslim brothers,” Patriarch Delly said in statements to the Missionary Service News Agency. “It was a really inhuman act, because massacring so many people carrying out their religious duties cannot be considered a human gesture.”

“As representatives of the Chaldean Church, together with all Christians, we are grieved because we are all part of the same Iraqi family. What happens to a Muslim brother happens also to me,” he said.

The attacks forced a postponement in the signing of the provisional Constitution. Iraq’s Governing Council has proclaimed three days of mourning, at the end of which the text should be signed.

The papal nuncio in Iraq, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, told Vatican Radio that the attacks seemed designed to destabilize the country and deny a pre-eminent role to the majority Shiites.

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