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It was only six days after the 9/11 attacks that President Bush described Islam as a religion of peace, specifically saying, “Islam is peace,” but the Religion of Peace website reports that for 2010, there were 1987 jihad attacks in 46 nations resulting in 9,175 deaths and 17,436 injured, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
So analysts are expressing alarm that individual attacks on Christian churches are being replicated rapidly and appear to be reflecting a new wave of Islamists’ war against any stability in the Middle East.
Recent al-Qaida attacks on Christians stretching from North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia reveal a new terrorist initiative that not only attempts to eliminate remnants of existing non-Islamist religions but hits hard at “soft target” opportunities, such as praying Christians in Egypt, leaving security experts off-guard.
Analysts say the orchestrated attacks against Christians – from Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria to Russia’s mostly Muslim North Caucasus of the Ingushetia region bordering Chechnya – initially were thought to be random.
However, the killing spree now is being viewed as a coordinated pattern of attacks representing a new and higher level of violence.
The Vatican had been expressing alarm for some time, with Pope Benedict XVI describing as “ferocious” the terrorist acts that were launched in October when some 58 Iraqis were killed and 78 wounded in an attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Baghdad.
The October attacks were an act of “unheard-of ferocity against defenseless people joined in prayer,” said senior Vatican official Archbishop Carlo Marina Vigano at a recent general assembly meeting of Interpol in Doha, Qatar. Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, helps facilitate police cooperation internationally.
The attack on the cathedral was followed by further attacks by al-Qaida-affiliated groups that struck in a coordinated effort on three Christian homes in the Iraqi capital, followed by mortar attacks on another two largely Christian communities.
The latest violence against Christians occurred last week in Alexandria, Egypt, on the Coptic Christian church where a suicide bomber killed 21 people and wounded another 80. Some 1,000 Christians were attending New Year’s Mass.
According to observers, blood splattered the front of the church, as well as a mosque directly across the street. Many of the bodies were left in the church overnight to be collected by ambulances for burial the next day. Some Christians brought white sheets with the sign of the cross emblazoned on them in what appeared to be victims’ blood.
“There were only three soldiers and an officer in front of the church,” said Archbishop Raweis, the top Coptic cleric in Alexandria. “Why did they have so little security at such a sensitive time when there’s so many threats coming from al-Qaida?”
Outraged Christians immediately blamed the predominantly Muslim government of Egypt which has seen growing tensions for some time between its Muslim majority and Christian minority.
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