After the first-ever coordinated attacks on Iraq’s minority Christian population on the first Sunday in August, Muslim and church leaders alike condemned the car bombings, and observers wondered whether the terrorist strikes might have failed to achieve an apparent goal of creating religious division.
Car bombs targeted four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul as worshipers gathered for evening mass. At least half of those killed were Muslims who lived near the churches.
The most senior Shi‘ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and other Iraqi leaders urged national unity. Sistani labeled the attacks “outrageous” and “flagrant crimes.” The Association of Sunni Muslim Scholars said the bombings were “totally remote from any religious or humanitarian norms.”