The Straits Times
Published on Dec 25, 2012

Baghdad Christians attend mass at attacked church


BAGHDAD (AFP) - Behind blast walls and with police nearby, 200 worshippers attended Christmas mass Monday at Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church, which officially reopened this month after a massacre in 2010.

Sat in wooden pews with a 2m high inflatable Santa Claus and a Christmas tree placed at the back, many cradled young children as a sermon was delivered with other youths playing in the church's courtyard.

Atop the church stood two Iraqi security forces members with rifles, while people who wanted to go inside were frisked at the entrance to the church compound, surrounded by 4m tall blast walls and concertina wire.

"This is our first Christmas at this church since the attack," said 40-year-old Nasrat, one of the worshippers.