Christians of Iraq
Contact Links Historical articles Historical pictures Photos of Bombed Churches Home Only this link has access to all News articles
Iraqi Catholics in U.S. See Continuing Challenges in Their Homeland
June 18. 06
Appointing members of rival sectarian factions to key positions in Iraq's permanent government does not guarantee religious freedom, security and long-term stability in the war-ravaged nation, according to U.S. Iraqi Catholics.
Iraq's Parliament recently approved the appointments of a Sunni Muslim as defense minister, and of two Shiites as ministers of the interior and national security departments. Kurds, two Christians and members of other groups also comprise the 39-member Cabinet.
In the December 2005 election, Iraqis elected only three Christians to the nation's 275-member Parliament. Christians comprise about 3 percent of the country's estimated 27 million population.
Some in Parliament favor amending the constitution, which requires laws to conform to provisions of Islamic law. But fundamentalists in the legislature want Islam to be the state religion, giving "Muslim clerics the power to dictate law" and to veto measures, said Bishop Sarhad Jammo of St. Peter the Apostle Eparchy, based in El Cajon.
Robert Putrus of Escondido, who attends St. Peter's Chaldean Cathedral in El Cajon, said Christians in Iraq would continue to suffer if the constitution does not grant religious freedom. Christian owners of businesses, such as liquor stores, have been killed by radical Shiites bent on religious cleansing, he said.
In amending the constitution, the top priority for factions in Parliament is protecting their own interests, not working for religious freedom, according to Sam Kosa of St. Michael Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon. "Kurds want to expand their territory; Shiites want to follow Islamic law; and Sunnis want more power," which they lost after former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's fall, he said.
Putrus said it is unlikely the constitution will be amended to allow religious freedom. "There has been no separation of church and state in Iraq before, during and after Saddam's rule," he said.
The Iraqis interviewed foresee a lengthy struggle as the new government strives to curb terrorism and bring long-term security and stability to their homeland.
Putrus believes that representation of rival factions in the government "will eventually mitigate the violence. Militia members and terrorists pose the greatest threat to Iraq's security," he said. "Militias have allegiance to radical affiliations, not to the country."
Putrus disagrees with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's goal of integrating militias into Iraq's security structure. The militias should first be disbanded; then volunteers could join Iraq's security forces, he said.
Kosa favors integrating militia members into Iraq's security forces, but only those who are qualified, trained and loyal to the government. He said the country's military and police forces must be stabilized to curb terrorist attacks.
Bishop Jammo, on the other hand, said some militias were originally formed to defend sections of cities that the government could not secure. "Now the militias are fighting each other," he said, noting conflicts between anti-government Sunnis and terrorists from Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The insurgents cannot be controlled until Iraq's army and police force are independent and equipped by the U.S. military, he said. Terrorist attacks also have crippled the country's infrastructure and coalition construction projects, the bishop added. "There is less electricity and running water available now than there was four years ago."
Regarding the threat of civil war, Bishop Jammo said sectarian violence could lead to such a conflict.
Kosa called the ongoing violence an "undeclared civil war." Insurgents in Baghdad, Iraq, are fighting to cleanse the area of rival factions. "It's neighbor against neighbor," he said. Iranians are supporting the Shiites, and Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria are backing their counterparts in Iraq, he added.
Those interviewed oppose partitioning Iraq to separate Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, which some U.S. military officers claim is necessary to avoid a civil war. "Fragmenting the country into independent regions would create anger and continuous fighting," Bishop Jammo said. He favors regional governments under a united federation, which Iraq's Constitution allows.
The escalating violence has taken the lives of 2,500 U.S. troops and, according to a number of media sources, between 38,000 and 42,000 civilians.
To control the violence, "trust needs to be built among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds," Kosa said. "If the constitution is their standard, they will build that trust."
June = Khzeeran
Iraqi Catholics in U.S. See Continuing Challenges in Their Homeland June 18, 06
Assyrian leaders meet with Laura Bush June 17, 06
Questions assyrians would like to ask Turkey June 14, 06
Assyrians Demonstrate in Washington, D.C. June 12, 06
Assyrian Demonstrations in Washington D.C. 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