An Assyrian Christian family of three were murdered in their home in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Thursday 8 March.

Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, a radiologist, his wife Dr Shaza Malik Dinno, gynaecologist and her elderly mother, Khairiyah Dawood Abada, were stabbed by four men who then stole money and some items from the house.

The bodies were found by the neighbours the next morning, after they noticed through the open door the doctor’s body in the corridor, covered with blood. The police later found his wife’s body in the kitchen and her mother’s on the second floor.

A spokesperson for Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced on 10 March, that they had caught the suspects.

Although their motivation remains unknown, a local source told World Watch Monitor the incident has increased fears among Iraqi Christians. Just some weeks before this incident, a young Christian man, Samer Salah Addin, was shot dead in front of his house in Baghdad.

The doctor’s family had fled Iraq previously but then returned about five years ago. They were planning to leave Iraq again in the coming days.

The number of Christians in Iraq has been dramatically decreasing in recent years because of many violent incidents against them, particularly at the hands of ISIS. It has resulted in the closure of many churches because of dwindling congregations.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Ask the Lord to bring comfort to loved ones, colleagues and patients, as they come to terms with their loss in the midst of shock and grief.
  • Pray the Lord’s protection may be on the Christian community. May He shield them from violence and oppression.
  • Pray these deaths may not be in vain but may be somehow used by the Lord as a witness for the love and light of the Gospel.

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