A Christian family of three were stabbed to death in their home in Baghdad on 8 March. The attackers then stole money and some items from the house.
Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, and his wife Dr Shaza Malik Dinno, both worked at a nuns’ hospital. Dr Shaza’s elderly mother, Khairiyah, was the third victim. Their bodies were found by neighbours the next morning, after they noticed their door was open. A spokesperson for Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced on 10 March that they had caught the suspects.
Although the attackers’ motivation is still unknown, the incident has increased fear among the Christian community in Iraq. Just some weeks before this attack, a young Christian man, Samer Salah Addin, was shot dead in front of his house in Baghdad.
Commenting on the two incidents, Father Biyos Qasha of Maryos Church in Baghdad says that he saw signs of a plan ‘to force the Christian population from their homes and out of the country’.
“This means there is no place for Christians,” he says. “We are seen as a lamb to be killed at any time.”
Zowaa, the Assyrian Democratic Movement in Baghdad, condemned the incident and called on the Iraqi government to fulfil its responsibility to protect Christians from such acts of terror.
The doctor’s family had fled Iraq previously, but then returned about five years ago. They were planning to leave Iraq again in the coming days. The family’s funeral was held in the Syriac Catholic Mar Behnam Church in Baghdad.
Due to the increase in violent persecution, many Iraqi Christians have fled the country, leading to church closures due to dwindling numbers.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.