Iraqi Christians attend a church service in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, May 6, 2007.
April 25, 2008
There is a war against Iraq’s Christians taking place, at the behest of two allegedly Christ-loving regimes and one supposed Islamic government, with one commonality being their need to hide behind the walls of Jericho to carry out the persecution of men, women and children.
How else can any one describe the systematic ethnic cleansing of Iraq’s Christians, who were born and raised in the land between two rivers, the land which gave birth to the founder of the three major religions and whose lineage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is now the land which being destroyed at the hands of "god fearing" heathens.
It has been five years and still silence is the golden fleece for Britain and America. They have chosen to ignore the murders - the beheadings, the attacks, the forced displacement and increases in taxation upon the Christians for refusing to convert, the intimidation by militias upon women for not wearing a headscarf .
Most Christians in Iraq are Chaldeans, members of an Eastern Rite denomination that recognizes the pope's authority. Other sizable denominations include the Assyrian Catholic Church, which traces its roots to the 1st century. Iraqi Christians are also affiliated with the Church of the East, the Anglican Church and other Protestant faiths. Pope Benedict XVI and President Bush said that in a meeting last week they discussed the "precarious state" of Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The Bishop of Mosul reported in 2006 that a "fourteen year old boy was crucified in Al Basra" and how members of the US/UK trained Iraqi Police forces, have assaulted "civilian passers-by with anti-Christian and racist slurs" - grotesque acts which apparently Britain takes seriously within its own borders, when addressing "institutional racism" in the police force and cases relating to honour killings against its own civilians.
But how the West has turned the other cheek, when Paulos Iskandar the Syriac-Orhtodox priest was beheaded in October 2006, and how they failed to act when reports emerged from Iraqi newspaper Azzaman, when they reported that US troops were taking over churches and using them for military purposes, with over fifty percent of Iraq’s Christians having believed to have already fled.
In March this year, Paulos Faraj Rahho, archbishop of Mosul's Chaldean community, was found dead after being abducted. This month, Youssef Adel, an Assyrian Orthodox priest, was fatally shot in a drive-by attack in Karrada, one of Baghdad's safest neighbourhoods and home to Abdal's Holy Catholic Assyrian Church
Let's not forget the looting of churches, the bomb attacks carried out against congregations. Let's remember the priests, decons and other members of the Christian Church who have become the victims of sectarian kidnappings, and how militias have taken their hatred of a multi-national society and left their victims' heads on the doorsteps of God's holy "house".
The Western response has been typically quiet, and in an effort to be emphasise its multi-cultural credentials, the Socialist Worker reported how the, "highlight" of one Stop the War Coalition demonstration in "Red" Ken Livingston’s London was Sheikh Zagani, foreign affairs spokesperson for Moqtada al-Sadr, who under the noses of New Labour, MI5, MI6 and the Foreign Office announced to 100,000 non-Burkha-wearing British people that, "We are the voice of humanity," but failed to mention the murders of Christians, Palestinians, Shiite, Sunni, the destruction of ancient sites, the collapse of the health service, the murder of academics, and growing illiteracy.
Asia News has also reported that the Iranian-backed Mehdi Army death squads, have been threatening women into the forced wearing of the "veil", with IRIN reporting how the Mehdi have also been responsible for the "hunting" down of women for "religious reasons or because they had criticised the militants" or, as one resident put it, "They accuse them [the women victims] of different things such as prostitution, or of being informants for Iraqi and US forces, or of not wearing a headscarf or for wearing Western clothes,"
Al-Sadr’s forces have also been responsible for the murders of homosexuals, which they claim to be "sexual perverts", along with having murdered members of Iraq’s Palestinians community. Unlike the Mehdi Army, which was brought to Iraq in 2003, the Palestinian community has been resident in the country since the creation of the state of Israel.
It is perhaps hardly surprising that the US and UK should fail to act upon the plight of the Christians, when most people in "liberated" Britain don’t even know that under Saddam Hussain, the various religions were celebrated and not persecuted, and that many in the US still think that Saddam was behind the 9/11 twin towers attack.
At present, Iraq’s Christians are one of the few communities left which do not have their own army to protect themselves, something that maybe the Christian community should consider as being essential, if only to assist and save the lives of religious minorities against slaughter in present-day Iraq.
Hussein Al-Alak is Chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign.