Iraqi Christians Face Increasing Persecution Because Of Pope’s Remarks

The New York Times reports:

The blackened shells of five cars still sit in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary here, stark reminders of a bomb blast that killed two people after a recent Sunday Mass.

In the northern city of Mosul, a priest from the Syriac Orthodox Church was kidnapped last week. His church complied with his captors’ demands and put up posters denouncing recent comments made by the pope about Islam, but he was killed anyway. The police found his beheaded body on Wednesday.…

Many Christians have relocated, changing neighborhoods or even cities. About a thousand Christian families, from Mosul, Baghdad, Basra and elsewhere, have taken refuge in Ain Kawa, a small town outside the Kurdish city of Erbil, which has become an oasis for Christians, said the Rev. Yusuf Sabri, a priest at St. Joseph’s Chaldean Catholic Church there.…

Asaad Aziz, a 42-year-old Chaldean Catholic, is one of those trying to leave the country. After the ouster of Mr. Hussein, he bought a liquor store in a mostly Shiite neighborhood. Nine days after he opened, the store was bombed. Mr. Aziz was hospitalized for a month.

The employees rebuilt the store. But several months later, a note slipped under the door gave Mr. Aziz 48 hours to close.

“Otherwise, you will blame yourself,” it said.

Mr. Aziz closed. But after an unsuccessful stint at a friend’s printing company, he returned to the business he knew best, opening a liquor store in a mostly Christian neighborhood. Last month, a gunman riddled the new storefront with bullets as Mr. Aziz cowered in a back room.

He told another story: the teenage daughter of another Christian family he knows was kidnapped recently. The captors initially demanded a ransom, but later sarcastically said the pope was the only one who could release her. She was eventually killed.

“When the pope gave his statement, it destroyed any last hope that we had here,” said Mr. Aziz, who has forbidden his daughters, one in high school and the other in college, to return to school.…

“We cannot practice our rituals and we cannot bring food home to our families,” he said. “That’s why I want to leave the country.”…

How bad is it in Iraq? Note the attribution at the bottom of the piece:

Wisam H. Habeeb and Khalid al-Ansary contributed reporting from Baghdad, and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times from Mosul.

It seems the New York Times cannot identify it’s “employee” in Mosul, most likely because that identification would lead to the death of the employee. Way to go, Donald Rumsfeld.

And now, a thought, impractical as it is. Should Israel offer asylum to Iraqi Christians? One must wonder why the US has not. I would assume the answer has to do with security, surely the same answer Israel would give. Still, these people need refuge. Readers, any solutions?


Filed under Current Affairs, Religion

4 responses to “Iraqi Christians Face Increasing Persecution Because Of Pope’s Remarks

  1. Isa

    These Christians are also getting persecuted from the Kurds- remember the Kurds? Victims of Saddam’s poison gas attacks. Also remember that the Kurds took part in the butchering of the Armenians in 1915.
    Boo hoo hoo the poor persecuted Kurds.
    I had an Assrian Christian tailor whose roots went back to Iraq. He spoke Syriac when he was young. The alphabet is identical to Hebrew. This Syriac when spelled with Hebrew letters is known as Aramaiac.
    Under Saddam, an Iraqi Christian could sit in the middle of the bus especially if he (or she) was loyal and belonged to the Baath party. Under Saddam, Christians were protected just so long as they showed loyalty to Saddam.
    What was Bush thinking? as bad a Saddam was, didn’t his cohorts know that the majority of Iraqis are Shia? Instead of a crazy (but secular) Saddam we are going to get an Iraq run but the even crazier Shia who will be puppets of the Iranian mullahs.
    I once had an customer that was Iraqi. He said every house had automatic weapons and ammunition. I said if bandits entered your house could you use those weapons? OH NO he said weapons only for enemy who invades Iraq. If one used weapons in any unapproved manner , your whole family would get wiped out. So we invade a country that armed even beyond the wildest dreames of the NRA (National Rifle Association) with automatic weaponry in homes. With garages every now and then stuffed with bazookas, grnades etc. And we are suprized that this isn’t a ‘cakewalk’

  2. Paul Freedman

    Isa, could be that Rumsfeld disturbed a hornet’s nest but he is not morally responsible when the hornets decide to sting a Christian to death because of something the Pope said. My personal opinion has been that the “cakewalk” notion came first and all the other arguments came afterwards–somehow these guys had decided up front that Iraq was like a store and you could extract the manager and everything would keep on running like before.

  3. Isa

    So true!
    Oh lookie at the hive, must be lotsa honey inside of it lets take some the bees wont mind.
    The Lebanon ‘democracy’ model might have worked.
    Where sects alternate posts. The head guy is one sect the next guy in line is another sect, the next guy is something else.

    When we pulled Saddam out of that ‘spider hole’ we should have dusted him off, a new suit , a shave and make him an American puppet.

  4. My solution is for the Christians of Iraq to stay and defend their faith. If this sounds impossible, they can borrow Ehud Olmert’s Convergence Plan by moving all Iraqi Christians into a single town or province, where they would have a better chance to defend themselves from the jihadists, with demographic security.

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