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Patriarch denounces U.S. evangelicals in Iraq

19 May 2005
Source: Reuters
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS, May 19 (Reuters) - The head of Iraq's largest Christian community denounced American evangelical missionaries in his country on Thursday for what he said were attempts to convert poor Muslims by flashing money and smart cars.

Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, told journalists that many Protestant activists had come to Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and set up what he called "boutiques" to attract converts.

Many Muslim countries consider Christian missionaries as part of a Western campaign against Islam and punish both the preacher and the apostate Muslim severely. Violent Iraqi groups killed at least five evangelical missionaries last year.

At least 20 Iraqis were killed in bombings of Christian churches last year as unknown attackers stepped up pressure on non-Muslims there. Christian minorities in Muslim countries usually keep a low profile and do not evangelise.

Delly said Iraq did not need missionaries as its Christian churches dated back long before Protestantism. As for trying to convert Muslims, he said: "You can't even talk about that here."

Christians make up 3 percent of Iraq's 26 million mostly Muslim population, the largest group being the 600,000 Chaldeans who are Eastern rite Catholics linked to the Vatican.

Saying the evangelicals were not real missionaries, Delly said they attracted poor youths with displays of money and taking them "out riding in cars to have fun".

"Then they take photos and send them here, to Germany, to the United States and say 'look how many Muslims have become Christian'," he said.

The patriarch declined to say if the missionaries were a challenge  for his church or if U.S. authorities supported them.


The idea of converting Muslims has gained some support among U.S. evangelicals since the September 11 attacks, but foreigners who evangelise in Islamic countries must keep very low profiles.

Some were active in Iraq in the first year after Saddam Hussein's overthrow, but deteriorating security since then probably means many have left, Baghdad residents say.

"There may be between 100 and 200 there now," said Todd Johnson, an expert on world Christianity at the evangelical Gordon-Conwell Seminary near Boston, Massachusetts.

"They're mostly aid workers, I don't think there is much regular evangelising," he told Reuters.

Four U.S. Baptist missionaries were killed in Iraq in March 2004 and seven South Korean Presbyterians were briefly kidnapped the following month. That June, Islamic militants beheaded a South Korean truck driver who was an evangelical Christian. Delly had no overall figures for these missions but said he knew of 14 evangelical houses, which he called "boutiques", in one central Baghdad neighbourhood alone. "I don't know where their money comes from," he added.

The patriarch, who vigorously opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and met French President Jacques Chirac -- who also opposed it -- on Wednesday, declined to comment on Washington's policy there or whether he had contacts with U.S. authorities.

"Frankly, I try to avoid meeting them as much as possible," he said. "They are the occupiers. The occupied don't want to be occupied. That's human nature."

Delly, 77, ranks as an archbishop in the Catholic Church and is tipped as a possible future cardinal. Eastern rite prelates traditionally do not accept such honours but three -- a Copt, a Assyrian and a Maronite -- are now "princes of the Church."



Who are the Christians of Iraq?   

Patriarch denounces U.S. evangelicals in Iraq  May 19, 05

Muslims against terrorism  May 18, 05

Indigenous People Among World's Poorest  May 17, 05

Rafsanjani: Iraq developments impact region  May 17, 05 

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International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology May 13, 05

Iraq chooses Christian Asyrian woman as science minister May 12, 05

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Assyrian Iraqi woman, 70, granted asylum  May 11, 05

News from Peesh-Khabor May, 9, 05

Young Assyrians Participated in the Netherlands Marathon  May 9, 05

Iraq's Recent and Ancient Past May 9, 05

Former Minneapolis resident works to bridge divisions in Iraq  May 9, 05

Iraq's government is too confessional, says Bishop  May 8, 05

The Assyrian Church of the East Patriarch Visits Iran  May 5, 05

Assyrian Candidate John Kanno Runs for Congress  May 3, 05

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Assyrian Appointed As Minister of Science and Technology April 28, 05

Syria releases 16 Assyrians from Prison April 28, 05

Standing up to Saddam and his son took courage  April 26, 05

Seyfo commemoration and demonstration in Brussels April 25, 05

Assyrians in Brussels Mark 90th Anniversary of Turkish Genocide  April 25, 05 

A Speech about Assyrians at the Australia's Legistlative Council   April 05

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Turkey Encouraging Displaced Christian Assyrians to Return  April 16, 05

Swedes wooed by Assyrian migrants' soccer magic  April 16, 05

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The Islamic Republic Of Iraq?  April 12, 05 

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Celebration of the Assyrian New Year in Tur-Abedeen Turkey April 10, 05


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Pope, example of humility to Iraqi Christians  April 11, 05

Assyrians pray for shock in Swedish league debut April 11, 05

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Iraq's Assyrians Seek Voice in New Government March 19, 05 

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Ansar al-Sunna claims killing of Christian Iraqi general March 18, 05 

Bishop Gabriel Kassab Visits London March 17, 05 

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A Nun's Message of Hope March 16, 05

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The persecution of the Christians in Iraq  March 14, 05

Yonadam Kanna on ChaldoAssyrians and Iraq Assembly March 10, 05

Interview: Iraqi cleric -- Civil war impossible: March 8, 05

How Ancient Assyrians helped communities to prosper March 8, 05

Iraqi women face uphill battle to maintain their rights March 8, 2005

The eagerly awaited Assyrian dictionary by Gabriel Afram March 7.05

Torment of the Assyrians of Turkey after world war one by the Turks and the Kurds March 5, 05

The Tragic Situation of the Assyrians of Barwari Bala March 4, 05 

The persecution of the Christians in Iraq March 2, 2005

Relentless pressures drive Christians from the Middle East  March  1, 05

Iran Sentenced Protestant clergyman to three years in prison  March 1, 05 

Demonstrators Protested The disenfranchisement of the Assyrians in Iraqi Elections in Front of UN  Feb. 27, 05

Assyrian Christians of Iraq wanted to vote but were not allowed. Feb. 27, 05

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Letters of Protest to the Independant Elections Council of iraq  Feb. 24, 05 

Assyrians a forgotten minority  Feb. 24, 05 

SAT-7 to Broadcast First TV Show Made by and about Iraqi Christians Feb. 24, 05

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Amid the chaos of Iraq's war, the cradle of civilization is being looted Feb. 23, 05

Assyrians from the fall Nineveh to the Present Feb. 20, 05

Iraqi Prelate Confident Exiled Christians Will Return Feb. 20, 05

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Iraqi exile voters put Chaldo-Assyrian Christian in Iraqi assembly Feb. 16, 05

Assyrian demonstrations protest Iraqi voting lock out Feb. 16, o5

Assyrians to Protest at the United Nations against Unfair Iraqi Elections Feb. 15, 05


Assyrian Christians Here Say Iraq Vote Unfair Feb. 14, 05 

Iraqi Militant Group Claims Kidnapping of a Christian Feb. 13, 05

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To Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles President of the European Parliament Feb 14, 05

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Iraqi Turkmen Accuse Kurds of Voting of Fraud  Jan. 30, 05

KDP Statement about Kurds Preventing Assyrians From Voting in North Iraq  Jan. 06, 05

Assyrians Protest Iraqis Protest Voting Irregularities Feb. 06, 05

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Christian Assyrians Face Obstacles in Iraqi Elections Feb. 3, 05

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Iraqis Report a Variety of Complaints About Irregularities on Election Day Feb 2, 05

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Assyria: 150,000 Chaldo Assyrians Protest Their Exclusion From Voting  Feb. 2, 05

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Assyrians Prevented from Voting in Northern Iraq Jan 30, 05

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Iraq Overseas Voter Registration Extended   Jan. 22, 05

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Critics: Limited number of Iraqi po lling places in United State disenfranchises Christians Jan. 19, 05

CSI Founder Welcomes Release of Kidnapped Archbishop in Iraq Jan. 19, 05

Local Iraqis make long journey  Jan. 18, 05

Seyfo: The Unmentioned Genocide of the Assyrians during world war one Jan. 18, 05

I prayed and was ready for the worse, says the Bishop of Mosul Jan. 18. 05

Many Iraqis travel far to register to vote Jan. 30  Ja n 18, 05

Relief after kidnapped Iraqi archbishop is released Jan, 18, 05

Kurdish Attacks on Assyrians in Iraq Intensify As Election Nears  Jan. 17. 05

Christian Assyrian Heritage of Iraq Before Islam  Jan. 16, 05

Armed Kurdish Groups Terrorize Assyrian Town in Iraq Jan. 15, 05

Muslims Identify Christians as Western Enemies Jan. 14, 05


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Iraqi Christian campaigns struggle Jan. 14, 05

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Assyrian National Gathering (Assembly) Jan. 11, 05

Terrorism Strikes All Iraqis, Says Patriarch Jan. 11, 05

Pastor tells of his visit to Baghdad Jan 10, 05 

A Look At Iran's Christian Minority Jan. 1- 05

Assyriska rises to Sweden's promised land  Jan. 6, 05

Good News from Midyat Turkey Jan. 8, 05 

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Members of ancient Turkish Christian community try to get back to normal  Jan, 6, 05

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Minority Christian groups want more parliamentary clout  Jan. 4, 05

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Bleeding of the Week  Jan. 3, 05 

World's Assyrians savour Swedish soccer saga Jan. 2, 05  

Christians provide their own security for Christmas  Dec. 25, 04

Wearing one seen as way to avoid violence Dec. 25, 04

New Hope of Syrian Minorities: Ripple Effect of Iraqi Politics Dec. 29, 04 

Iraqi Christians in Jordan Cite Bombs, Intimidation Dec. 25, 04

Iraq's Christmas Spirit: Fear Dec. 25, 04 

Christmas in Iraq  Dec. 25, 04   

Iraqi Refugees will not Be Home For Christmas Dec. 24, 04

Is Iraq Another Yugoslavia? Dec. 23, 04

Kurds: Bombers are militant splinter group Dec.23, 04 

USCIRF Letter to President Bush about the Non-Moslems in Iraq Dec. 21, 04

Christian orphans stuck in limbo in Iraq  Dec. 21, 04

Christian Plight in Iraq Dec. 21, 04

Chaldo-Assyrian Community of Iraq Dec. 21, 04

Despite Fear of Attacks Baghdad Christians celebrate birth of Christ Dec. 21 ,04 

Churches attacked in Mosul. Christians Kidnapped and Injured  Dec. 20 ,04

Christmas services canceled by fearful Iraqi Christians Dec. 20, 04

Turkey, the EU and the Assyrians  Dec. 20, 04

Voting ProceduresFor the Out Country Iraqi's  Dec. 16, 04

Iraqi Christians to Take Role in Elections DC. 15, 04 

Updated: Oppression and Murder of the Assyrians in Iraq Dec. 10, 04

Iraq's besieged Christians weigh taking up arms, fleeing into exile  Dec. 12, 04

Pope expresses concern about recent terror attacks against Iraqi Christians Dec. 8, 04

Iraq Churches Bombed; 1,000th American Killed  Dec. 7, 04

1,500 members to protect Christians in northern Iraq Dec. 4, 04

Christianity Under Fire In Egypt  Dec. 6, 04

Interview with younadam Kanna of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM)  Dec. 5, 04

Kurd's Tactics to Divide Assyrians into Insignificance Dec. 3, 04

The Advantages of a Governate Region Versus Safe Heaven  Dec. 1. 04

AINA: Appeal for a ChaldoAssyrian Safe Haven in Northern Iraq  Nov. 30, 04

Iraq's Christian Minority Under Threat Nov. 29, 04

More and more Christians Fear Life in Iraq Nov. 29, 04

Appeal for a ChaldoAssyrian Safe Haven in Iraq  Nov. 24, 04

Interview with Archbischop of Kerkuk - Louis Sakko Nov. 24, 04

US support seen as 'disaster' for Christian minority in Iraq Nov. 23, 04

Iraqi Christians seek U.S. support  Nov. 23, 04

A Conference for the Defense of Human rights for Minorities in Iraq  Nov. 18, 04

U.S. Must Protect Iraq's Christians  Nov. 16, 04

The Coming Elections in Iraq and the Expatritots  Nov. 15,04

The Ethnic Cleansing of christians In Iraq Continues  Nov. 13, 04

Northern Iraq's Mosul Tense After U.S. Air Strikes Nov. 12, 04

Bombs explode at Baghdad Orthodox churches Nov . 8, 04

Militants bomb Orthodox church in Baghdad  Nove. 8, 04

Is Mosul Next after Falluja?  Nov. 7, 04

Companions in suffering: An Interview with Thea Halo Nov. 6, 02

Iraqi Christians Face Escalating violence: Urgent Appeal For Help  Nov. 4, 04

Update of Opression and Murder of the Assyrians in Iraq Nov. 4, 04

Two Assyrians Killed in Syria  NOv. 3, 04

Assyrian Family Attacked in Baghdad, Two Killed  NOv. 2, 04

Restoring Sanity to Iraq  Oct. 25, 04

Apeal for an Administration region for the Christians of Iraq  Oct. 24, 04

Kurd's Confiscation of Assyrian Villages  Oct. 25, 04

Christians of Iraq under Siege Oct. 25, o4


















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