Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Bombing of the "Golden Mosque"

Having not been able to post yesterday, I had not chance to write about the bombing of the so-called "Golden Mosque" in Iraq and its repercussions. But it appears that we have a long journey ahead of us in dealing with the aftermath of the event.

For those who might have missed the news, the mosque was bombed on Tuesday by militants believed to be foreign fighters - probably Al-Qaeda. The "golden mosque" is of deep significance to Muslims, and to especially Shi'ite muslims who took the attack as a direct attack on their faith by Sunni extemists. In retaliation, Shi'ite extremists attacked several Sunni mosques and prayer gatherings on Wednesday, killing several clerics and guards. Now, sectarian violence is growing, and there are fears of a real Shi'ite vs. Sunni civil war within Iraq.

Personally, I doubt true civil war is likely to break out, so long as the Iraqi government and American forces get the word out that the attack was by foreign elements seeking to incite violence. It is critical that the average Iraqi understands that this is their own personal 9/11 - that their enemy is Al-Qaeda and not each other. But it will take time for the pure pain of the event to fade, and for a deeper, reasoned anger to take its place.

In the meantime, we Christians should be praying that God quells the violence and brings some sanity, and that civil war is not allowed to blossom.

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