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Who are Christians of Iraq?

Christians of Iraq trace their ancestry to the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians.They are known by various names such as Assyrians, Chaldeans for those who belong to the Chaldean-Church and Syriacs for the members of the Syrian Orthodox church. There is no specific statistics about the total population ofChristians in Iraq but they are estimated to be about one million .

During the relatively tolerant period of the Abassid Caliphate (758-1258) Assyrians scholars of both Nestorian and Jacobite denominations contributed greatly to the advancement of the Islamic civilization by translating the available knowledge form the Syriac and the Greek languages into the Arabic. This usheredan era which is known as the "Golden Age". The first directors of the "House of Wisdom"an institution specifically established by AI-Mamun in 830 AD to translate all the availableexisting knowledge including, medicine philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and other sciences into the Arabic were Assyrians, also known as Nestorians and Jacobites.

To show the extent of the Assyrian contribution to educating the Arabs it suffices to say that from a hundred Galen's treaties ninety six were translated form the Syriac languagethe rest directly from the Greek. Many Greek books no longer existed in their nativelanguage. Yuhanna ibn Masswaya a physician and teacher was the first director of theHouse of Wisdom and the president of the first Arab University. He has been creditedwith having written nearly fifty works. His students were known to be well versed in logic and the writings of Galen. He conducted an assembly in Baghdad on regular basis known as "Majlis" which was a combination of lecture room and consulting hour where he saw patients, lectured his students and discussed scientific topics for the benefit of the general public. One of his most famous students was Hunayn ibn-Isahq who became the second director of the House of the Wisdom.(Arab Civilization to AD 1,500", D. M. Dunlop, New York 1971 p.220)

Hunayn is considered to be the greatest and the most productive translator of all."According to Ibn-abi-Usahbi'ah he was the author of more than one hundred original works, but few of these are extant". (Whiple 27) He translated twenty books of Galen into Syriac, and fourteen treaties into Arabic. He revised sixteen translations made previously by Sergius of Ras al-'Ayn (Rish-Ayna). The Arab translators such as Khwarizmi, al-Kindi and al-l-Hajjaj, the first translator of Euclid's Elements, received their training from Hunayn, and Thabit beit Qurra.

Translation from the Syriac language to Arabic was so widespread that even the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy who was a good friend of al-Mehdi and his sons Musa, Harun and Ali is known to have translated the 'Topics of Aristotle' first from the Syriac in (782-3), later retranslated it from the Greek original with the help of the malikite Patriarch.Christian Doctors were famous for their extensive medical skills.

The Medical training and teaching facilities of Jundi Shapour designed, built, and managed by the Assyrian scholars was transferred to Baghdad. The Jundi Shapour Bimarestan became model for hospitals built in Baghdad, Damascus, Allepo and Cairo. (Whipple 28) The teaching and training of the Physicians was done in the hospital as it is presently the case inthe British Medical Schools. Ahamd Eisa gives a list of twelve physicians from Jundi Shapour practicing in Baghdad. (Whipple p.28)

Members of the Bakht-Eisho family served as court doctors for seven generations. The Beit Qarra family of Harran who were still practicing a corrupted form of the ancient Assyro-Babylonian religion contributed greatly to the Arab Knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. The rise of the Arabic as a language of education contributed to the decline of scholarship in the Syriac language.

The arrival of the Crusaders followed by the Mongols inflamed Moslem passions against the none Moslem communities. Because of continued massacres the Assyrians population gradually declined in number but survived mostly in the plain of Nineveh, Southeast Turkey, Mountains north of Mosul, and and northwest Iran.

Turkey's world war one massacres resulted in the death of 750,000. During Saddam's wars with the Kurds hundreds of Assyrian villages were destroyed their inhabitants were rendered homeless, driven out of their historic homeland, and scattered as refugees in large cities or the neighboring countries. dozens of ancient churches some dating to the early centuries of Christianity were bombed and turned into rubble. The teaching of the Syriac language was prohibited and Assyrians were forced to give their children Arabic names in an effort to undermine their true identity. Those who wished to hold governmental jobs had to sign ethnicity correction papers which declared them arabs.

The fall of Saddam which was hoped to bring peace to Iraq has unleashed religious violence against the Christian community in Iraq. Unless special attention is given to their plight by the US and the Iraqi government this ancient people will continue to suffer grievously as they have in the past.


A simple way to help
the embattled Christians of Iraq

click here; Tell Congress to Stabilize and Support the Assyrian Community in the Nineveh Plains


Khzirun = June

Britain's Indifference to the Plight of Iraqi Christians emphasised in the House of Commons June 27, 2009

USCIRF Expresses Concern Over Reported Attacks on Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt June 27, 2009

In Nineveh, tensions between Iraqi Kurds and Arabs simmer June 25, 2009

Dominican sister vows to remain in Iraq despite increasing violence June 24, 2009

Parliament of the Kurdistan region to ratifies the territory constitution June 24, 2009

Turkish Court Rules Against Assyrian Monastery
June 24, 2009

Iraq Kurds pass new constitution to include Kirkuk June 24, 2009

Fear of Massacre Grips Christian Village in Egypt; Crops Destroyed June 24, 2009

Muslim Mob Attacks Church and Loots Christian Homes in Egypt June 20, 2009

Christian Coptic Twin Boys Struggle Against Forced Islamization June 20, 2009

Organization Helps Injured, Ill Iraqis
June 20, 2009

A member of Drafting Kurdistan Constitution Describes Our Clergies interference in Politics as a "major crime" June 20, 2009

Assyrian Refugees in Sweden Caught in Political Struggle June 19, 2009

Autonomy and the Assyrians of Iraq
June 16, 2009

Motion in the UK Parliament for the return of our Churches June 16, 2009

Assyriska versus Syrianska; World's Most Competitive Football Contest June 10, 2009

Assyrian Medical Society Without Borders, Without Passports June 10, 2009

Sweden's New Asylum Policy
June 10, 2009

Rosie Malek-Younan Awarded Assyrian Woman of the Year June 10, 2009


The war on Christianity in the Middle East
June 4, 2009


Iraqi Christians in need
June 2, 2009

Ayar = May

Allotting of Iraqi Oil Rights May Stoke Hostility
May 29, 2009

Amo Baba State Funeral of the Iraqi Assyrian sport's Legend AAmmo Babba May 28, 2009

Sharia Law and Women’s Rights in Iraq
May 27, 2009

EU Parliament Candidate Supports Assyrians in Iraq May 27, 2009

Iraqi Refugees Struggling in the United States
May 26, 2009

“The Morganthau Story” about Turkey's genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks to be screened in US
May 21, 2009

The Challenge of the Armenian Genocide for the 21st Century May 21, 2009

Wave of Iraq bombings in Dora and Kirkuk kills 66- May 21, 2009

An Open letter by a Turk about World War I Massacre of the Assyrians in Turkey
May 20, 2009

Christians Unwelcome Here May 20, 2009

Plea: Save Egypt's Christian Children From Forced Islamization May 16, 2009

A new book; Ancient and Modern Assyrians
May 15, 2009

Documentary on persecution of Christians in Iraq to be shown in Westlake Village May 14, 2009

The Kurdistan Parliament Rejects Assigned Representation by non Kurds May 14, 2009

Egyptian Christian Kidnapped, Pressured to Convert to Islam May 13, 2009

Five-Year-Old Christian Iraqi boy Kidnapped then killed May 11, 2009

The Continuing Legal Battle of the Syriac-Orthodox Monastery in Turkey May 11, 2009

Tony blair has helped destroy one of the oldest churches on earth May 11, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI issues plea for Middle East Christians May 11, 2009

The Art of Issa Benyamin May 11, 2009

UN alters its Iraq refugee guidelines
May 11, 2009

Don’t flee Kirkuk, Iraqi Christians are urged
May 8, 2009

The state of Assyrian Refugees in Syria
May 7, 2009

Iraqi Christians Too Scared to Reveal Whole Truth on Violence May 7, 2009

Historical Acknowledgement of the Assyrian genocide by a Turk May 6, 2009

The Purple Heart May 6, 2009

Neesan = April

Egyptian State Security Forces Demolish Church Services Building April 30, 2009

Chaldean Curch Elects National Council to Distinguish its followers as a separate Ethnic People April 28, 2009

Assyrian historian and researcher Dr. Hermis Aboona passes away April 27, 2009

Fighting for Peace in the Middle East
April 28, 2009

Turkish PM Steps Into Assyrian Monastery Dispute
April 27, 2009

Two Assyrians gunned down in Iraq
April 27, 2009

Turkey Should Improve Education for minorities; says report April 26, 2009

Modesto Assyrian in recovery from Iraq injury
April 25, 2009

Iraqi municipality workers come across “priceless artifacts”
in Tikrit
April 23, 2009

Kurdish Security forces above the law in Iraqi Kurdistan
April 21, 2009

Orthodox mark 'Holy Fire' of Easter in Jerusalem
April 17, 2009

Turkey's Ambassador to Australia trying to prevent recognition of Armenian Genocide April 17, 2009

Assyrian Language Street Signs to Be Placed in North Iraq
April 15, 2009

Iraqi Vice President Urges Christians To Stay, Seeks Help For Them April 15, 2009

Iraq's Minorities Issue Joint Statement on Kurdish Expansion Plans April 15, 2009

Endangered Aramaic language makes a comeback in Syria
April 14, 2009

More Secure Christians Celebrate Easter in Iraq
April 14, 2009

Iraq's embattled Christians celebrate Easter
April 11, 2009

Chicago museum opens magical doors April 11, 2009

Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: Intercommunal Relations on the Periphery of the Ottoman Empire April 9, 2009

Will Islam Return Obama's 'Respect'?
April 9, 2009

The Lost History of Christianity The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died ? April 8, 2009

Assyrian Celebration of the Palm Sunday in Baghdad
April 6, 2009

Improving Security Allows Assyrians to Celebrate Religious Feast April 6, 2009

Video of Dan- Rather's interview with an Assyrian,
a Suni, a Sheite, and a Kurd
April 6, 2009

The assassination of a Christian citizen in the city of Mosul
April 5, 2009

Video of Celebration of the Assyrian New Year in Sydney Australia April 3, 2009

Muslim Mob Drags Christian Women Through Streets
April 3, 2009

New Wave of Violence Targets Christians in Iraq
April 3, 2009

Iran Arrests Two Christian Women for Practicing Christianity April 2, 2009

Assyrian New Year parade and celebration in northern Iraq
April 1, 2009

Assyrian Church in Iran is ordered to be closed by the Islamic Revolutionary Court April 1, 2009

Iraqi Christians have ‘great hope’ in ‘tragic’ situation, Kirkuk archbishop says April 1, 2009

Addar = March

U.S. State Department overlooks ‘especially dire’ religious freedom violations in Iraq March 31, 2009

CEO and eventual majority owner of the San Diego Padres, the great grandson of Assyrian immigrants March 31, 2009

Assyrian New Year's Celebration to Proceed in North Iraq
March 31, 2009

Assyrian Elected to Top Position in Local Swedish Party
March 31, 2009

Tell Congress to support Obama's promise to Iraq's Refugees
March 31, 2009

Iraq: The Most Dangerous Place in the World for Christians
March 28, 2009

Congressman Wolf Sends Letter to Clinton Regarding Assyrians of Iraq March 27, 2009

Letter to President Obama
Finally, a promise to Iraqi refugees. March 27, 2009

Youtube Assyrian Videos 2

Youtube Assyrian Videos (youtube2-b)
March 25, 2009

The Last Assyrians in Urmia
March 25, 2009

Al Jazeera - Tensions over Ancient Assyrian monastery surface in Turkey March 23, 2009

Assyrian Valley school gives young emigres stability and hope
March 23, 2009

Woodbridge Canada is hotspot of Assyrian culture
March 21, 2009

Leaving Iraq: An Iraqi Christian; blog by an Assyrian Catholic March 20, 2009

Museum Aims to Piece Together Iraq's Plundered Past
March 20, 2009

Iraqi Christians Caught in Crossfire
March 17, 2009

New Book Accuses Iraqi Kurds of Assassinating Assyrian Leader March 17, 2009

Mr. Ninos Khoshaba the first Assyrian elected to the New South Wales Parliament. March 16, 2009

Iraq War not Worth the Sacrifice
March 15, 2009

The Myth of Kurdistan
March 15, 2009

Plight of Christians Assyrians in Iraq described to Madison church March 15, 2009

International Research Network on Christians in the Middle East Launched March 15, 2009

The Iranians are Coming!
March 11, 2009

Aishu Auraay: A Missing Seven-Year-Old Assyrian Boy
March 11, 2009

US Lawmakers Send Letter on Plight of Iraq's Assyrians to The US secretary of State; Clinton March 11, 2009

Celebration of the Assyrian New Year March 11, 2009

A New Assyrian Web site March 11, 2009

Iraq's 2009 Elections: Assyrians once again prevented from voting March 10, 2009

Egyptian Muslim Sets Fire to Christian Man, Murders His Father March 8, 2009

Battle Over a Christian Monastery Tests Turkey's Tolerance of Minorities March 7, 2009

Marathon in Holland to Draw Attention to Assyrian Monastery in Turkey March 6, 2009

Bishops: Middle East May Soon Be Empty of Christians
March 5, 2009

Urban Sprawl, Not Looting, Threatens Nineveh Antiquities March 4, 2009


April 09 - May 09 - June 09

February 09 - March 09

January 09 - Dec. 08

Sept. 08 - Oct. 08 Nov. 08

June 08 - July 08 - August 08

April 08 - May 08

February 08 - March 08

December 07 - January 08

October - November 07

August - September 07

June - July 07

May - April 07

February - March 07

December 06 - January 07

October, November 06

August, September 06

June, July 06
March April May 06
February 06
December05 Januray 06