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Christians Of Iraq


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Traditional Assyrian Costumes

 Photos of Bombed Churches

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Popular articles Exodus, Assimilation, Eradication:
Iraq’s minority communities since 2003

A report from Minority Rights Group International.pdf

Translation Translation from English

Who Are Christians of Iraq?

Most people think of the Middle East as mostly Arab and Moslem but it is not the case. Before the seventh century invasion of the Middle East by Moslem Arabs the predominant population of Mesopotamia (today's Iraq), Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt was none Arab Christians. The growth of Islam in these countries was not due to a sudden influx of Arabs but gradual conversion to Islam by the native

population who later were termed Arabs. It was not until the eleventh century when Moslems became a majority in Iraq.

Early Assyrian Churches and Monasteries in northern Iraq

Christians of Iraq trace their ancestry to the ancient Assyrians and Baby- lonians.They are known by various names such as Assyrians, Chaldeans for those whobelong to the Chaldean-Church and Syriacs for the members of the SyrianOrthodox 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. 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.





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helpWho are the Christians of Iraq?

Addar = March

We Must Not Let the Assyrian Church Slide Into Oblivion
March 30, 07

Assyrian Testifies At the Congressional Human Rights Caucus
March 30, 07

Assyrian Delegation At the EP Conference on Iraqi
Turkmen and Kirkuk
March 30, 07

The Kurdish peshmerga terrorize young Assyrian in Tel-Kef Iraq
March 29, 07

Journalists and Politcians request help for the Assyrians
March 28, 07

Assyrian New Year Celebrations in Sydny-Australia
March 28, 07

March 28, 07

Iraq Second Most Dangerous Place in World for Minorities
March 27, 07

Congressional Subcommittee Criticizes Administration's
Iraq Refugee Policy
March 27, 07

Two Catholic Nuns Stabbed to death in Iraq March 27, 07

Assyrians gather in Ceres to discuss presence in Iraq
March 26, 07

Christians, targeted and suffering, flee Iraq March 26, 07

US fails to Help Iraqi Translators March 25, 07

Writing on the Wall for Iraq March 25, 07

State Department, Iraqi Envoys to Attend Assyrian Forum
March 23, 07

The Ankawa Conference March 23, 07

Say No to the Sharia law Rule by Kurdish Regional Goverment!
March 22, 07

The Christian Iraqi Refugees in Lebanon;
A Humiliating Wait for Immigration Visas
March 20, 07

US State Department says Christian sanctuary in Iraq is being
March 20, 07

IRAQ Islamic groups impose tax on Christian "subjects" March 19, 07

Iraqi Assyrian Refugees Flocking to Sweden March 19, 07

Muslims Forcing Christian Assyrians in Baghdad
Pay 'Protection Tax'
March 18, 07

Scholars debate stolen artifacts March 17, 07

Urgent Action Needed to Protect Iraq's Religious Minorities March 17, 07

In Jordan, Christians From Iraq Harassed March 15, 07

Iraqi Christian Monthly Is Honored March 15, 07

Religious Freedom Watchdog Agency Urges Protection
for Iraq's Assyrians
March 14, 07

Is Newruz the Kurdish national day? March 13, 07

Assyrians: An Ancient Community Under Siege in Iraq March 12, 07

Assyrian Genocide Memorial Wall Erected in California March 12, 07

Attiya Gamri Reelected to the Provincial Parliament of the Netherlands
March 12, 07

Corruption: The Dark Underbelly of Kurdistan's Dream March 12, 07

Egypt Arrests Christian Victims of Muslim attack March 11, 07

Iraqi Refugees who Despite Improbable Odds Reach US March 11, 07

U.N. refugee agency assesses the uprooted Iraqis plight March 11, 07

Students graduate from the Theological School March 11, 07

Kurdish authorities forbid Assyrians from using Assyrian names
for their businesses
March 10, 07

Where do all Assyrian refugees end up March 6, 07

Iraq's Mandaeans 'Face Extinction' March 5, 07

The Loss and Rediscovery Of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh March 4, 07

Assyrians at the New Zealand Folklore festival March 4, 07

Australian MP Draws Attention to the Plight of Iraq's Assyrians
March 2, 07

Assyrian (Syfo) Genocide Conference at the European
March 2, 07

Eshvad = February

Turkey Bars Examination of Evidence of Assyrian Genocide
February 28, 07

Assyrian Journalist receives death threats February 26, 07

Christians Fleeing Iraq February 26, 07

A G. I.'s Letter from Iraq February 24, 07

International Community has abandoned the
weak and the helpless in Iraq
February 23, 07

The inauguration of the Assyrian Genocide Memorial
Wall in Tarzan Ca
February 23, 07

Jewish Groups Not Supporting Turkey on Armenian Genocide Bill
February 23, 07

The Assyrian rights and the Kurdistan Region Option February 22, 07

Looting leaves archaeologists worried over Iraqi artifacts February 22, 07

Kurds Trying to Intimidate Turkmen in North Iraq February 20, 07

Lectures titled “Genocides of XX and XXI centuries”
at North Park University
February 20, 07

Europe has to help Iraq's refugees February 20, 07

'Honor' Killings: A Tale of Two Cities February 19, 07

Kirkuk Has Never Been a Kurdish City February 17, 07

Twin car bombs in Kirkuk market kill 10, wound 60 February 17, 07

Attack on Yazidis in Northern Iraq February 17, 07

Iraqi Christians Fleeing Violence Face Uncertain Future February 16, 07

US Support Will Backfire for Kurds February 15, 07

International intrigues behind Kurdish passport scandal! February 15, 07

Iraqi refugees dismiss U.S. resettlement February 14, 07

Iraq Refugees' Struggle in Syria February 14, 07

EU Condemns Lebanon Bus Attacks in Christian Areas February 13, 07

Muslims Burn Christian Shops in Egypt February 13, 07

Remains of possible victims of Genocide will be examined by
international expedition
February 13, 07

Press release: Mardin Mass Graves Revisited February 11, 07

Thousands of Iraqi Refugees Demand Change to Syrian Residency Laws
February 11, 07

Rifts aside, Iraq has a timetable February 11, 07

The State Department's Rosy Deception on Iraq Refugees February 9, 07

Iraq Militants Kill Christian Airline Official Feb. 8, 07

Luana, 22  year Old Christian girl Raped by Iraqi soldier Feb. 7, 07

A letter to Sylvester Stallone Feb. 7, 07

The Assyrian Universal Alliance Reacts to Recent Allegations Feb. 6, 07

Syriac Christian cuisine of Mardin Feb. 6, 07

Kurds Displaced in Effort to Preserve Ancient City Feb. 4, 07

Kirkuk bombs kill 2, injure dozens Feb. 3, 07

Iraqi Refugees Feel Hounded By Syria Crackdown Feb. 3, 07

Assyrian Genocide Memorial Wall Feb. 2, 07

Turkey is changing, despite Dink's murder Feb. 2, 07

The irrationality of 'They killed us, that’s why we killed them' Feb. 2, 07

Kurdish Iraq's Ambassador issued 29000 passports for none Iraqis Feb. 2, 07



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