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Christians Of Iraq

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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.

Assyrians from the fall of Nineveh to Present

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 who belong 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, 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.








church on fire



Teesheen II = November

Dire Times For Iraq's Christians Nov.30, 07

US Warns Oil Firms Against Signing Kurdish Contacts Nov.29, 07

Assyrian Priest Kidnapped in South-eastern Turkey Released
Nov.29, 07

Religion does not seem to be the cause of Syriac Orthodox priest’s abduction Nov.29, 07

Christian Priest Kidnapped In S.East Turkey Nov.29, 07

Kidnappers Demand 300,000 Euros for Assyrian Priest Nov.27, 07

Future of Iraq's looted past looking brighter Nov.27, 07

Assyrian Priest kidnapped in south-eastern Turkey Nov.27, 07

Present-day Turkey doesn’t leave chance for Armenian Genocide recognition Nov.27, 07

Despite being left at the mercy of terrorists, Christians continue to hope, says bishop of Mosul Nov.27, 07

Iraqi Oil Minister 'Can Cancel Contracts Signed With Kurds'
Nov.27, 07

Sargis Aghajan Misrepresents Facts, Kanna Says Nov.26, 07

"Syriac Federation Germany (HSA)" Press Release Nov.26, 07

Chaplains Struggle to Protect Monastery in Iraq Nov.26, 07

National Museum of Iraq to reopen Nov.25, 07

St. John’s Church Reopens in Baghdad Nov.24, 07

Assyrian, native of Iraq works for the Congressman Radanovich
Nov.24, 07

The fears and hopes of Iraqi Christians Nov.23, 07

Ashur T.V. program nov. 23, 07 Nov.23, 07

Forthcoming visit of Bishop Audo to England Nov.22, 07

Zowaa's Response to Mullah Bukhtyar Nov.20, 07

Family of forgers fool art world with beautifully crafted fakes
Nov.20, 07

Keeping Christianity Alive in Iraq Nov.20, 07

Al-Qaida-linked Group Behind Attacks in North Iraq Nov.20, 07

General Says North Iraq Most Violent Region Nov.19, 07

Turkish Hackers Targeting Assyrian Websites Nov.19, 07

Invaders and Allies Ignore Iraq's Humanitarian Crisis Nov.18, 07

Kurdish Ministry of Finance Prejudicially Targeting ChaldoAssyrians Nov.18, 07

Dutch Parliament Debates Aid Package for Assyrians in Iraq
Nov.17, 07

Mosul - Another “Paradise Lost”? Nov.16, 07

Baghdad’s “successes” vs Mosul’s “hell” Nov.15, 07




America Welcomes Sabri Atman Nov.12, 07

Faith faces extinction in Iraq: only about 5,000 Mandaeans remain there. Nov.11, 07

Assyrian Church Wins Two-year Court Battle Nov.11, 07

Assyrian Lobbyist Appointed In Brussels Nov.11, 07

Seminar by Sabri Atman in Los Angeles Nov.9, 07

Iraq's Christian villages offer homes and safe haven Nov.9, 07

Dutch Parliament Hearing on Assyrians of Iraq Nov.9, 07

Christians seek new life in Europe Nov.8, 07

Car Bomb explosion in the Assyrian town of Telesqof Nov.8, 07

Close to 2500 Assyrian university students fear studying in Mosul
Nov.8, 07

Yonadam Kanna will visit Europe later this month Nov.8, 07

Assyrian Democratic Organization's Letter to the Pope
Nov. 7, 07

Christians would be main victims of attack by Turkey in northern Iraq Nov. 6, 07

Iraqis recount tales of horror INSPIRATION Nov. 6, 07

Assyrian, Armenian Genocide Monument Erected in Wales
Nov. 5, 07

Rosie Malek Younan Gust Staring on Life Nov. 4, 07

Mandeans face extinction in Iraq Nov. 4, 07

Kayseri constructs world’s largest cuneiform monument
Nov. 3, 07

Kurdish Official Denies Assyrian, Turkomen Land Claims
Nov. 3, 07

Threat of war looms over Assyrian village Nov. 3, 07

IRAQ's Power stations close due to lack of oil Nov. 3, 07

Iraqi Christians Stranded in Jordan Nov. 2, 07

Iraq's Christians Face Extinction, Advocacy Group Says
Nov. 1, 07

Genocide researcher calls on Turks to push their government to Recognize genocide Nov. 1, 07

Tishreen I = October

Iraq’s vulnerable Christian minority gets promise of support
Oct. 31, 07

Over 200 British MPs recognize Armenian Genocide Oct. 30, 07

Assyrian poet Sargon Boulus dies at age 63 Oct. 30, 07

Two British Armenian Political Action Groups Acknowledge the Assyrian Genocide Oct. 22, 07

Rosie Malek-Yonan’s latest role in New Line Cinema’s Renditionn Oct. 22, 07

Iraqis who fled homes in fear face new terror as Turkey targets PKK rebels Oct. 21, 07

Iraqi Christians Spurned by U.N. Oct. 21, 07

The UN and the Assyrians of Iraq Oct. 19, 07

Air America Radio Program about the Christian Assyrians of Iraq
Oct. 19, 07

Bishop decries government's indifference to the Abduction of the Priests Oct. 18, 07

Assyria or Kurdistan? Oct. 18, 07

Patriarch Emmanuel Delly ordained as cardinal by the Pope Oct. 17, 07

The Assyrian and Armenian Genocides of 1915 Oct. 17, 07

Islam's Peace Offensive Oct. 16, 07

Heroes behind an epic Oct. 16, 07

Oct. 16, 07

Margareta Viklund replies to Nemrod Baitos accusations
Oct. 15, 07

Imperiled Christian family abandons its cherished homeland Oct. 14, 07

Pope urges Iraqi priests' release Oct. 14, 07

Two Assyrian Priests abducted in Mosul Oct. 13, 07

Muslim scholars in call for peace with Christians Oct. 11, 07

Iraq's Ex-oil Chief Accuses Kurds of Suspect Contract
Oct. 11, 07

Palestinians Crucify the Holy Land Oct. 11, 07

Assyrians killed in Mosul and Baghdad Oct. 10, 07

About the two women killed in Baghdad Oct. 10, 07

Archbishop tells of 'harrowing’ suffering of Iraqi refugees
Oct. 9, 07

Devastating Last Thoughts on Iraq Oct. 7, 07

Music pearls of Beth - Nahrin Oct. 4, 07

In Basra, vigilantes wage deadly campaign against women
Oct. 4, 07

George Malki excels, in soccer and in school. Oct. 3, 07

Who Committed the Yezidi Massacre in North Iraq? Oct. 3, 07

Bishops fear for future of Iraqi Christians Oct. 3, 07

Arabs quitting Iraq's Kirkuk Oct. 3, 07

The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh
Oct. 2, 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