Iraqi Attack Prompts Protest of UK Parliament
British Government Urged to Aid Christians
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According to a statement given by Father Nizar Senaam of the Syrian Catholic Mission in the United Kingdom, Britain's protest drew about 350 people to the steps of parliament in response to the attack on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral.
They came together to ask the British government to officially "condemn the attacks and to put pressure on the Iraqi government to afford more protection to the Iraqi Christians living in Iraq."
Father Senaam said that there was concern over a possible mass exodus of Iraqi Christians which, if it occurred, would have a "huge impact on the European community and on the United Kingdom in particular."
While the public has shown compassion over the incident, Father Senaam said that the government must do more to protect Iraqi Christians who want to stay in their homeland as well as be supportive of those seeking refuge in Britain.
The priest urged the British media, which he said has been "almost indifferent," to use its voice to "shout loud enough so that the government can take notice."
He also commented on the fact that the French government had not only offered to help care for the injured, but had flown 38 wounded, including a priest, Father Qutaimi, on a medical plane to France for treatment. "We wish the British government had made a similar gesture," Father Senaam said.
For families grieving the victims of the attack, a Mass of Remembrance will be held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Friday at 7:00 p.m. The service, organized by the Churches of the Iraqi Community in the United Kingdom, will be attended by Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, who will read a message by Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
A second Mass, to be held later this month at Westminster Cathedral, will be attended by both family members of the victims as well as several Iraqi dignitaries.