WASHINGTON (November 29, 2010) — The U.S. bishops commended a resolution in the House of Representatives that condemns recent attacks on religious minorities in Iraq and calls for the U.S. government to work with the Iraqi government to protect these vulnerable groups.
In a November 29 letter to the sponsors of House Resolution 1725, Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, co-adjutor archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, called for its immediate passage.
The resolution was introduced November 18 by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and co-sponsored by Representatives Frank Wolf (R-VA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Mark S. Kirk (R-IL), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Trent Franks (R-AZ),).
“Our conference welcomes this bipartisan resolution as a way to focus attention on the situation of the vulnerable religious communities in Iraq,” the bishops wrote. “In particular,” they added, “we support the emphasis on developing a comprehensive plan to improve security for religious minorities and to increase their representation in the Government of Iraq and to include them in all aspects of Iraqi society.”
In their letter, the bishops referenced the recent attack in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.
“The October 31 attack on worshippers in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad that killed 58 and wounded 75 and the continuing violence against Christians are horrific reminders of the appalling lack of security that has condemned many in Iraq to live in fear,” the bishops said. The House resolution condemns the attack against Our Lady of Salvation Church.
The bishops also welcomed the resolution’s concern for Iraqi refugees and supported its call for measures to accelerate the review of their applications for resettlement and to improve conditions on the ground so that refugees may safely return to Iraq.
“We sincerely hope that H. Res. 1725 will be adopted quickly by the House of Representatives as we believe it will help improve security for all Iraqis, especially Christians and other vulnerable minorities,” the bishops said. “We hope it will contribute to the overall goal of achieving a “responsible transition” that will reduce further loss of life and address the refugee crisis in Iraq.”
Keywords: Iraqi Christians, violence, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Bishop Howard Hubbard, House Resolution 1725
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