The Associated Press reports that Iraqi Christians today (December 22, 2010) called off Christmas festivities across the country, because al-Qaida insurgents threatened more attacks on a beleaguered community still terrified from a bloody siege at a Baghdad church two months ago.
A council representing Christian denominations across Iraq advised its followers to cancel public Christmas celebrations out of concern over new terrorist attacks.
Church officials in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul, the southern city of Basra, and in the capital, Baghdad, confirmed they will not put up Christmas decorations or hold evening Mass, and have urged worshipers to refrain from decorating their homes.
"Nobody can ignore the threats of al-Qaida against Iraqi Christians," said Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako in Kirkuk. "The situation of Christians is bleak," he added.