ADL Condemns Massacre of Christians in Iraqi Church

New York, NY, November 2, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned the massacre of worshippers in an Iraqi Catholic church as a "despicable and cowardly act" and expressed its sympathies to Pope Benedict XVI, saying the attack was "another example of the terrible price of religiously motivated extremism."

Terrorists linked to Al Qaeda took nearly 100 people hostage at Our Lady of Salvation Church in central Baghdad during an evening Mass on October 31. When Iraqi security forces stormed the building in an attempt to free the hostages, the terrorists reportedly threw grenades and detonated explosive vests, killing 58 people and wounding at least 75.

"This despicable and cowardly act is another example of the terrible consequences of religiously motivated extremism," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is traveling in Rome this week with a leadership delegation led by Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. The League delegation is scheduled to have a Papal audience at the Vatican later this week.

"As we saw with this attack on churchgoers in Iraq, and in the thwarted bomb plot against air cargo carriers destined for the United States, terrorism in the name of fundamentalist Islam continues to pose a serious threat to all people of faith and civilized society," said Mr. Foxman.

"There is no excuse for taking the lives of innocent civilians in the name of a holy war against Christians and Jews," added Mr. Sugarman. "We stand in solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI and strongly agree with his statement last month that we must reject all terrorism carried out in God's name."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.