Insight | June 8, 2004 | Ken Joseph Jr.
The long-predicted exodus of Christians from Iraq has begun.
Facing a June 30 deadline for transfer of power, a temporary constitution that reads, in Article 7, that Islam is the "Official Religion of the
and the most recent humiliation for the community -- the failure to receive even one position on the Executive Council and only one ministry post, the
Ministry of Emigration -- the Christians of Iraq are voting with their feet.
"On a recent night the church had to spend more time on filling out baptismal forms needed for leaving the country than they did on the [worship]
service," says Amir, a deacon at a local church who does not want his full name published. "We have been flooded with parishioners desperate to
leave the country, and as they cannot get an exit permit without a baptismal certificate from the church we have been swamped with requests. ... In
recent days nearly 400 families as far as we can tell have filled out baptismal forms to leave the country. Our community is being decimated."
Most of the Christians in Iraq are Assyrians -- people who claim to be the original inhabitants of Iraq. The Assyrians were the people of Nineveh --
present-day Mosul -- the city to which God sent the biblical Jonah.
Because they are Christians and seen as allies of the West, the Assyrians have long been subject to persecution.
The Assyrian Church,
known officially as the Assyrian Church of the East, is the oldest continually existing church in the world
Assyrians are the only people in the world who still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ.
Timeline of bombed christian churches in Iraq, after NATO proclaimed Allawi's islamic republic of Iraq
August 1, 2004
- all across Iraq, 20 dead.
Almost all NATO media censors that this is the start of the campaign, suggesting it has been common under Hussein.
The rest downplays
- the pre-2004 number of Christians in Iraq to 700,000 (in fact, 3 million)
- the number of christians fleeing Iraqi to hundreds (in fact, a least 70,000)
Examples - msnbc, etc :
Iraq’s community of 750,000 Christians has grown increasingly anxious at the rise of Islamic fundamentalism since the ouster of Saddam Hussein last
year. Hundreds have fled to neighboring Jordan and Syria.
Fearing Islamic government, Christians leaving Iraq
Islam has been the dominant religion in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley for 1,400 years. Christians have been there for two millenniums and maintain a
quiet presence today in what is now Iraq.
Estimates of Iraq’s Christian population range from 600,000 to 800,000 -- roughly 3 percent of the overall population of 25 million. No one knows for
Christians, who practiced with relative freedom under Saddam Hussein, are leaving -- or trying to leave -- out of fear that a Muslim-dominated
government will control Iraq, said the Rev. Jean Benjamin Sleiman, Latin-rite (Roman Catholic) archbishop of Baghdad.
October 16, 2004
- the last 5 churches were destroyed in Baghdad.(1)
November 8, 2004
- the church of Fallujah is among the first targets bombed by NATO, as 12,000 troops start the assault.
(1) The christian Heritage in Kosovo - through the ages the southeast christian frontline against muslim jihad - was destroyed between June 1999 and
March 2004, as the last pogrom, supervised by 20,000 NATO mercenaries, completed the genocide and "ethnic cleansing" of 220,000 Serbs from
June 6, Assyrians fleeing
Aug. 1 :
Oct. 16 :
[edit on 8-11-2004 by MattMarriott]