Deliberately targeting and destroying religious sites is “reprehensible as it seeks to damage the core of peoples’ culture, belief and community,” said the United States bishops in a statement issued Friday.
Bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy, wrote the letter on behalf of the bishops in response to the attack last week on the Al Askariya Mosque-the Golden Mosque of Samarra, one of the most sacred religious sites in Shi’a Islam.
“Attacks on holy sites can only add to the insecurity, division and misery of the people of Iraq and risk further violence and destabilization,” the letter reads.
Bishop Wenski wrote that the bishops were “deeply saddened by the horrible attack” and extended their “prayers and condolences to the people of Iraq.”
“As we have consistently condemned past attacks on Christian religious sites and communities, we now strongly condemn this heinous terrorist attack on the Golden Mosque,” the statement reads. “We are also alarmed and deeply disturbed by retaliatory attacks on other mosques and the loss of life that followed the attack on the Golden Mosque.”
“Terrorism can never be morally justified no matter what the cause,” the bishop wrote.
The bishops said they would continue to support efforts to end the violence and to work toward a responsible transition in Iraq in the hope that all will be able to live and practice their faith in security.