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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.

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.




Who are the Christians of Iraq?

Tishrin II = November

Plight of Iraq's Christians Gets Worse November 30, 06

Sadr Followers Target Assyrian School Girls in Baghdad November 30, 06

"Mass Grave Discovery" In Turkey As Pope Continues Trip November 30, 06

First cuneiform inscription of Rabat Tepe 2 discovered November 29, 06

Kidnapped priest released in Baghdad November 29, 06

Turkish President Vetoes Christian Property Rights Law November 29, 06

In Lebanon, a Crisis for Christians November 28, 06

Christmas presents for the Nineveh Kids November 28, 06

Sweden to Investigate Assyrian Mass Graves in Turkey November 27, 06

Assyrian Leader Assassinated for Advocating Assyrian Autonomy Nov. 27, 06

Europe and the Ambiguities of Multiculturalism Nov. 26, 06

Opening Eyes To Plight Of Assyrians Nov. 25, 06

A Safe Haven for Assyrians is a Must Nov. 24, 06

‘Lies in Turkish’ Nov. 24, 06

Lebanon in shock after killing of Christian politician Nov. 22, 06

A lecture entitled "Massacres and Resistance Nov. 22, 06

Britain's House of Lords Discusses Assyrian CaseoNov. 20, 06

Baghdad: priest missing, feared kidnapped Nov. 20, 06

Kurds remove Arabs and Assyrians thru violence Nov. 19, 06

Kurdish Officials Employ Saddam Hossain's Tactics Nov. 19, 06

Nuri Kino on Swedish National TV argues the Assyrian cause Nov.18, 06

Professors Dr. Otto Jastrow and Shabo Toroyo Assyrian Dictionary Nov.16, 06

Bishops, commission plead for help for Iraqi Christians Nov.15, 06

Turkey Tries to Escape Its History Nov.14, 06

Terrorists Blast Iraqi Church Nov.12, 06

The Non-reaction to the Murder of an Assyrian Priest Nov.12, 06

Turkey Gives Non-Muslims the Right to Own Property Nov.12, 06

Hermit Assyrian nun is anything but reclusive Nov.10, 06

Fresh Concern Expressed About Iraq's Assyrians Nov.10, 06

Silencing Ancient Echoes: Iraq's Christians Nov. 9, 06

The Non-reaction to the Murder of an Assyrian Priest Nov. 9, 06

Iraqi bishop calls for Christian gathering: unite to be counted and more secure
Nov. 8, 06

Proud Assyrian Survivor Can Move on Nov. 7, 06

Assyrian Genocide Victims Discovered In Turkey: Report Nov. 6, 06

DONNY GEORGE former Chairman, Board of Antiquities, Iraq Nov. 6, 06

Assyrian areas in northern Iraq as shown in a map by Newsweek Nov. 3, 06

Church calls for action over violence toward Christians in Iraq Nov. 2, 06

Turkey's World War One Massacres Covered up by the Military” Nov. 2, 06

This Was Genocide, But Armenians Were Not Its Only Victims Nov. 1, 06

Autonomous Region for Iraq's Assyrians Nov. 1, 06

Tishrin 1 = October

The West Turns a Blind Eye to the Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in Iraq
Oct. 31, 06

U.S. Bishops Call for Protection of Iraq's Christians Oct. 30, 06

Hood celebrates 150th anniversary of Assyrian reliefs Oct. 30, 06

Assyrian History On Display Oct. 29, 06

Freedom of Religion Key for All in Iraq Oct. 29, 06

14 years young Assyrian boy decapitated in Iraq Oct. 29, 06

Assyrian civic club marks 60 years Oct. 27, 06

From Discovery to Dartmouth: The Assyrian Reliefs Oct. 27, 06

Sargis Aghajan: A Saint or a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing? Oct. 26, 06

Priest Sends SOS for Christians in Iraq; Faithful Flee, Churches Close
in Baghdad

Oct. 25, 06

The World Must Speak About the ongoing Assyrian Genocide Oct. 25, 06

Iraqi Militias Conducting Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against Baghdad's
Oct. 23, 06

Pope Urges World Leaders to Help Iraqis Rebuild Troubled Nation
Oct. 23, 06

Iraq's Christian Assyrians: Living in Fear Oct. 23, 06

Assyrians built aqueducts to bring water to Nineveh predating Romans by
400 years
.Oct. 23, 06

Hope for Assyrian Christians 'Rapidly Dying,' Says Former Iraqi Minister
Oct. 20, 06

Christians Live in Fear of Death Squads in Iraq Oct. 20, 06

Congresswoman Esho's Letter to Rice about the endengered Christians
of Iraq
Oct. 20, 06


Iraq: Christian Minority Seeks Haven From Violence Oct. 19, 06

GEORGIA: Will mob halt Assyrian Catholic centre? Oct. 19, 06

Ancient ruins inspire hope in U.S. forces in Pre-Christian Iraq . Oct. 18, 06

Christian Migration From Mid-East At Heart of Patriarchs' Meeting
Oct. 19, 06

Assyrian language Lecture and Seminar in London Oct. 19, 06

Save Us from the Time of Trial Oct. 18, 06

Persecution of non-Muslims increases in Iraq. Oct. 18, 06

In Iraq, a New Level of Threat to Christians Oct. 17, 06

World Has Forgotten Iraqi Christians: Chaldean Patriarch Oct. 16, 06

Some 500 people attend funeral of beheaded priest Oct. 16, 06

Christians are vacating land of Christ Oct. 15, 06

Threats force Iraqi Christians to flee to Syria Oct. 15, 06

Turkey starts to admit it has an ‘Armenian Question’ Oct. 15, 06

Some Turks change religion as way to West Oct. 14, 06

Beleaguered Yazidi find peace high in Iraq's northern mountains
Oct. 14, 06

Beheading of Iraqi priest latest attack on minorities Oct. 14, 06

Kurdish Militia Attacks Assyrian TV Station in North Iraq Oct. 13, 06

Iraq priest 'killed over pope's speech' Oct. 13, 06

More than 35,000 Christians have fled violence in Iraq Oct. 13, 06

Prominent Assyrian Priest Beheaded Oct. 12, 06

Father Paulos Iskandar Killed by Terrorist Abductors Oct. 12, 06

Who Will Remember the Assyrian Genocide? Oct. 11, 06

Abducted and raped, young Christian women and girls are driven to
suicide in Iraq
Oct. 11, 06

Was the genocide of the Ottoman Empire in1915 only against the
Armenians, or included Assyrians also?
Oct. 10, 06

Traditional Assyrian Costumes Oct. 9, 06

Organisation and Substitutionism Oct. 8, 06

A Nation Without a Country Oct. 8, 06

Swedish authorities honor Malfono Gabriel Afram Oct. 7, 06

Christian husband and wife converts from Islam released Oct. 7, 06

Terror campaign targets Christians of Iraq Oct. 6, 06

In 20 years, there will be no more Christians in Iraq' Oct. 5, 06

\FIRST-PERSON: Assyrian haircut Oct. 5, 06

The Assyrians: Ignored Among Fears of an Iraqi Civil War Oct. 4, 06

Two Iranian Christians arrested in Mashad. Oct. 4, 06

Car Bombs at the Christian Assyrian shopping district in Baghdad killed 16,
injured 87
Oct. 4, 06

30 Christian families receive threats to leave Mosul - Iraq Oct. 2, 06

Mr. Sarkis Aghajan, the Finance Minister of the Kurdistan regional
Government Asks for more rights for the Assyrians
Oct. 2, 06


August, September 06

June, July 06
March April May 06
February 06
December05 Januray 06