Archive for Iraq

Another Surge Needed

Posted in Iraq with tags , , , , on June 24, 2008 by Mike

Robin Harris at National Review Online has an excellent article about the imminent extinction of the Christian Church in Iraq.

Members of all religions have been affected by the violence since the toppling of Saddam Hussein. But Christians are in a worse position since they suffer directly because of their Christian faith. Targeted by Islamist extremists, they are confronted by demands to convert, death threats, looting of their homes and businesses, systematic intimidation, abductions for ransom, bombings, and frequently murder. Because Christians are known to be weak they and their property are also prey to gangsterism. Churches and church leaders are particular targets for Islamists. The 65-year-old Chaldean archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was abducted and murdered in March. Numerous priests and deacons have been tortured and shot or beheaded. At least 40 churches have been burnt.

The Iraqi Christian community has disappeared altogether from many areas of the country. Baghdad is rapidly emptying of its once flourishing Christian community, whose members have fled north to the traditional Christian homeland in the towns and villages of the plains of Nineveh. But here too they are hugely vulnerable. The regionally dominant Kurds, with whom relations have historically been bad and occasionally bloody, have little interest in offering protection. The Shia-dominated government in Baghdad is distant, unsympathetic, and has its own interests and problems. Even the relative success of the U.S. surge strategy has brought difficulties for the Christians, because the struggle with al-Qaeda is now focused on the regional centre Mosul, where Christians had hoped to find security. The Christian population itself is unused to bearing arms. It has no militia to defend it. It has no regional protectors. It is subject to pressures of illegal land confiscation and annexation, aimed at pushing it out of its last refuge.


EU Condemns Persecution of Christians

Posted in Overseas with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2007 by Mike

The Catholic News Agency is reporting that the European Union has passed a resolution that condemns the persecution of Christians around the world.

The measure, which has the support of the Socialist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and others, condemns all acts of violence against Christian communities especially in Africa and Asia, and it calls on the countries in question “to provide the necessary guarantees for religious freedom and the security of Christian communities.”

In addition to mentioning several cases of persecution of Christians in Pakistan, Gaza, Turkey, China, Vietnam, Sudan, Iraq and Syria, the measure “deplores the kidnapping of Father Giancarlo Gossi in the Philippines, strongly condemns the murder of journalist Hrant Dink and of Father Andrea Santoro in Turkey, as well as underscores the problems of freedom of expression in China and repression in Vietnam.

Iraqi PM vows to protect Christians

Posted in Overseas with tags , , , , , on October 29, 2007 by Mike

In an AP report, Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, pledged to defend the country’s small contingent of Christians, mainly Chaldeans, in an effort to stop the Christians’ mass exodus from Iraq.

The Christian community here, about 3 percent of the country’s 26 million people, is particularly vulnerable, and has little political or military clout to defend itself.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi Christians, who are mostly Chaldeans, have been targeted by Islamic extremists who label them “crusaders” loyal to U.S. troops.

Churches, priests and business owned by Christians have been attacked by Islamic militants.

Assyrian Christians in Iraq–no voice, no protection

Posted in Overseas with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2006 by Mike

Michelle Vu reports in The Christian Post on a protest held Monday outside the White House by Christians trying to bring attention to the plight of Assyrian Christians in Iraq. Although most religious and ethnic groups are suffering in Iraq, Vu reports that this tiny segment of the Iraqi population is especially vulnerable.

“This should be a priority because Assyrian Christians are the indigenous people of Iraq and many people don’t know that,” explained Paul Isaac, one of the rally’s organizers. “Because of their small population, weak status, and lack of regional support they have no one to protect them from all the violence.”Isaac pointed to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) report statistic that although Assyrians comprise only five percent of Iraq’s population, they make up nearly 40 percent of the refugees fleeing Iraq. He said that although all the ethnic and religious groups are suffering in Iraq, “it is clear that the Assyrian Christians are suffering by far the most…and they really have no one to protect them…”

In addition to the troubling Assyrian refugee statistic, there has been a rise in reports of persecution of Assyrian Christians in Iraq. Recently, in October, a 14-year-old boy near Mosul died by a crucifixion-murder. In the same month, Father Paulis Iskander was beheaded in Mosul.

For more information on the Christians of Iraq, visit For much more information on the persecution of Christians around the world, visit The Voice of the Martyrs. And as always, remember our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in your prayers.