Christians of Iraq
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Safety Zone Could Be the Answer for Iraq's Endangered Peoples
June 8, 06
Despite the fall of Saddam Hussein, and a proclamation of liberty in Iraq by the United States, Christians continue to flee the country in their thousands. Why? It is too dangerous to stay. As political and religious factions jostle for power, lawlessness continues to prevail outside areas patrolled by foreign military.
More significantly, Muslim groups steeled by extremist Islamic teachings about Christians, Jews and other religious minorities, are intent on removing Christians from the Iraqi state and taking their possessions. Christian communities have received letters from local Islamic groups saying that if they don't leave, their churches will be bombed, their children kidnapped, their women raped and their families murdered. Often the demand comes with a proviso--if the family converts to Islam, they will be saved. But for many Christians, that's absolutely out of the question. So when a deadline is attached to the deal, it's time to go.
"Hundreds of people are fleeing towns like Mosul and Kirkuk in the north," said Hermiz Shahen, Secretary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance in Australia. "If they stay, they feel guilty--they could never forgive themselves if their children were kidnapped or killed. So, many of them flee to Jordan and Syria, and end up staying there for years."
The Assyrians, who are neither Arab, nor Kurd, nor Muslim, are Iraq's indigenous people. And they are proudly Christian. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Chaldean Church of Babylon are the major denominations, while there are also a growing band of Protestant, evangelical and Pentecostal traditions as well.
"The Assyrians were the first to convert to Christianity and the first to take the gospel all over the world. Now we are facing total elimination," Mr Shahen said.
Indeed, the indigenous people of Iraq are watching their ancestral lands being stolen from beneath their feet."We are left asking, 'Why is the Western world not doing anything?'" said Mr Shahen. "Assyrian Christians are feeling they've been betrayed by the international community.
"What we would like see is more attention given to the Christian issue in Iraq.
"In the past, the international community created a homeland and protection for the Kurdish people. We would like to see the same protection extended to the Assyrian Christians."
Mr Shahen would like other Christians around the world to work together to bring about the establishment of a new homeland for Assyrians.
"A safety zone, an administrative area in our ancestors' homeland could be created, to which all Assyrians could return -- a protected region where people can gather, build houses and establish themselves, a place where they will not feel threatened."This is what we would like to see happen."
Other non-Muslims in Iraq have also suffered. The Sabian Mandaean Association of Australia, representing a small religious group associated with the teachings of John the Baptist, reports that the Mandaean community in Iraq is now less than half of what it was before the fall of Saddam Hussein. The Association reports that their decline within Iraq is not only due to people leaving the country, forced conversions and killings by vigilantes, but also through forced marriages of young girls to Muslim men. Some are raped with the expressed intention of preventing them from marrying within their communities and becoming the mothers of a new generation of Mandaeans.
June = Khzeeran
Safety Zone Could Be the Answer for Iraq's Endangered Peoples June 8, 06
New Book Release by Sargon Donabed June, 2, 06
The European MP letter to the Syrian Embassy June 1, 06
May = Ayar
New CD of Assyrian Songs May 25, 06
Kurd's Treatment of the Assyrians May 24, 06
Iraq's Christians face ethnic cleansing May 24, 06
Iran's Draft Law on Dress Has Many Worried May 22, 06
Fallacy of a Kurdish Intelectual May 19, 06
Bringing Security To The Chaotic South Iraq May 17, 06
Kirkuk Christians Fear Rising Violence May 17, 06
Lost Page in History, Finally Discovered May 15, 06
Violence Robs Iraq of Christian Heritage May 14, 06
Who will save Iraq's Christians May 10, 06
What Arab Civilization? May 9, 06
Lamassu, ancient Assyrian Evil repellent May 6, 06
Iraqi Christians seek asylum here May 3, 06
April = Neesan
The Friodil Institute and the Assyrian Seyfo April 30, 06
The West vs. Christianity? April 28, 06
Assyrian Geoncide Seyfo Monument in Sweden April 28, 06
Northern Iraq city's fragile ethnic mix perseveres April 27, 06
Angered Copts March to Break Their Long Silence April 25, 06
Stolen Away: Girls of Iraq Gone Missing April 25, 06
Islamists Down Under April 25, 06
Assyrian Delegation Visits Iraq April 21, 06
Assyrians hope to dispel myths April 21, 06
A Day Dedicated to St. Ephrem the Assyrian April 18, 06
Iraqi Christians brave violence to celebrate Easter April 17, 05
Iraqis Find Respite in Faith, Priest Says April 16, 06
Unesco intends to put the magic back in Babylon April 14, 06
Christian Killed in Islamist Raids on Egypt Churches April 14, 06
Shore Senior Center chooses 7 directors April 14, 06
County Legislators Endorse Assyrian Candidate April 12, 06
The Shattering of the Syriac Orthodox Church! April 12, 06
Islamizing American Schools April 10, 06
Cry unheard - Genocide and Me April 9, 06
Should We Constantly Be Victims? April 7, 06
Neglect of Iraqi Christians by President Bush April 6, 06
Assyrian New Year Celebrations in Sweden April 5, 06
A Tribute to Nuri Kino April 4, 06
Outside View: Condoleezza's Folly April 4, 06
Petition aksing for Assyrian Territory in Iraq April 4, 06
Killings Stoke Fear Among Assyrian Shopkeepers April 4, 06
The West Versus Christianity? April 3, 06
Assyrian New Year Celebrations in Iraq April 2, 06
The Ghost in the Baghdad Museum April 2, 06
Conversations with the Assyrians of Mardin April 1, 06
Italians find ancient Ur tablets April 1, 06
March = Addar (a's as in Art)
Violence Spreads in Turkey's Kurdish Region March 30, 06
Iraqi Commander Says, 'We Didn't Find a Mosque' March 30, 06
Press Release about ASSYRISKA: the Movie March 29, 06
Who will save Iraq's Christians? March 28, 06
A Child in need of help March 26, 06
3 Years of War Wither a Family's Seed of Hope March 26, 06
US government report on Syria's human rights March 25, 06
Turkey to Renovate Churches and Synagogue March 25, 06
Afghan Man Faces Death for Being a Christian March 21, 06
The Treasure Hunter March 19, 06
Trouble in Kurdistan March 17, 06
'TALAT PASHA RALLY' GATHERS 15 CHAUVINISTIC TURKS March 17, 06
Turks' planned demonstration in Berlin stopped March 14, 06
Another Priest attacked in Turkey March 13, 06
Muslim's Blunt Criticism of Islam Draws Threats March 11, 06
An Interview with Rosie Malek-Yonan by akitu.de.vu March 11, 06
IRAQI CHRISTIANS: CAUGHT IN A REFUGEE WEB March 9, 06
Will You be an Assyrian Actor? March 8, 06
Car bomb in Turkey injures Assyrian March 6, 06
ASSYRIAN CHRISTIANS KEEP THE FAITH March 5, 06
"Christians do not wants to leave Iraq for good" March 4, 06
Iraqi Catholics Donate to Rebuild Samarra Mosque March, 3, 06
January- February 06 Archives