BAGHDAD: Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa rejects the potential “exploitation” of attacks on Christians in the Arab world as a pretext for intervention by outside powers, he said in Iraq on Saturday.
“Exploiting these events for intervention is something we cannot accept,” Moussa said at a news conference in response to a question about attacks on Christians potentially being used as a pretext for outside intervention.
“We should be clear while talking to any power who has something to say in this, because there is a difference between being interested and being compassionate, and the exploitation of the issue,” Moussa said.
“What happened is of great concern for us,” he said of a January 1 bombing that killed 23 people at a Coptic church in Egypt’s second city Alexandria, and a spate of attacks on Christians in Iraq.
Christians “are of the Arab world, and we should provide them with security. Everyone was opposed to the terrorist acts, and these acts confirm that public opinion in the Arab world is against these terrorist crimes,” Moussa said.
On October 31, militants stormed Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad, leaving 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.
Ten days after the church massacre, a string of bomb and mortar attacks targeting the homes of Christians in Baghdad killed six people and wounded 33.
And on December 30, at least two Christians were killed and 16 others were wounded in a wave of bombings on Christian targets in Baghdad.
Moussa also addressed recent threats made by Ansar Al-Islam, an Islamist group, against countries taking part in an Arab summit planned for Baghdad in March.
“Those who are threatening attacks have accused the Iraqi government of being non-Arab oriented. What do they want? To turn their back on Iraq, or isolate it?” Mussa said.
“These threats should push Arab leaders to convene and discuss the differences” between them, he said, adding that differences of opinion should be respected.
Iraq has not hosted an Arab League summit since 1978, although an extraordinary meeting of leaders took place there in 1990.