Iraqi Christians Celebrate Christmas Quietly

Baghdad, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq's Christians are celebrating Christmas quietly as violence sweeps the country.

About three percent of Iraqis, some 800,000, are Christians.

Umm Salam is one of them. The 56-year-old says it's too dangerous to go to church; in fact, church services were canceled because of the security situation, so she will have a party at her house with some relatives. They will have to stay over because of the curfew.

It wasn't always like this. Umm Salam's 38-year-old daughter remembers when Christmas celebrations went on for days. She says they'd go to clubs and all their friends and relatives would be there.

Her brother sells Christmas trees, Santa dolls and colored lights at his grocery store but says business is not as good as it used to be.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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