by NZ CATHOLIC staff
AUCKLAND – Auckland Catholic Bishop Patrick Dunn and Auckland Anglican Bishop Ross Bay expressed concerns about the violence being inflicted on the people of Iraq and the impact it has upon the Iraqi community in New Zealand.
In a joint-statement released on June 22, 2014, the two bishops offered their prayerful support for the Iraqi and other migrant communities with the country. June 22 was declared as a National Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.
“In solidarity with those whose lives and livelihoods are being placed at risk in Iraq, we express our deep sadness at the extreme violence of the current insurgency of troops affiliated with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
“Acknowledging the religious and political complexity which characterises Iraqi society, we hold in our prayers not only the Christian minority, but all Iraqi citizens whose greatest desire is for peaceful and just participation in the ordering of their country’s affairs.
“We offer our prayerful support for the Iraqi and other migrant communities within Aotearoa New Zealand who have reason to fear for the safety of loved ones and those who share their faith and culture,” the statement said.
Twenty one people were killed in a series of bombings in Baghdad and shelling in another Iraqi city on Tuesday (June 17), while police found the bodies of 18 security personnel north of the capital.
The violence was spearheaded by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It also involved other groups and overran all of one province and several areas in three provinces within days.
A car bomb explosion in a market in the predominantly-Shiite Muslim area of north Baghdad, killed at least 11 people and wounded more than 20.