Middle East and North Africa

Baghdad Christian doctor, wife and mother murdered

Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni. Photo credit: Medical Doctors of Iraq

Three members of a Christian family were stabbed to death in Baghdad on the evening of Thursday 8 March 2018, in what community leaders are describing as a targeted attack aimed at frightening Christians into leaving Iraq.

Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni (61), his wife Shaza and his mother Khairiya were attacked and killed by armed men, who then stole money and valuables from their home.

The leader of a local Christian defence group told journalists, “This crime has only one message. Frightening our people and forcing them to leave the country.”

One church minister in Baghdad stated the attack was not an isolated incident: “This means that there is no place for Christians. We are seen as a lamb to be killed at any time.”

The murders were also condemned by a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, who tweeted that it demonstrated “minorities are persecuted in their homeland.”

More than a decade of anti-Christian violence in Iraq’s capital has led to the closure of eight churches, as congregation members have fled the country. Christians in Bagdad have been deliberately targeted for kidnapping, while some Christian shopkeepers have been forced to pay “protection money” to militias.