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Iraq’s Christians Near Extinction

A recent Fox News report tells of how “a rash of attacks on Christian-owned businesses in northern Iraq has raised troubling questions about the future safety of the country’s shrinking Christian community, particularly as U.S. forces withdraw completely from the nation they’ve refereed since 2003.”

In fact, “questions about the future safety of the country’s shrinking Christian community” have been raised ever since the U.S. toppled secular strongman Saddam Hussein, thereby unloosing the forces of jihad previously corked. The report continues:

The attacks, which have received little international attention, raged through northern cities following a sermon last Friday by a local mullah. Video purportedly from the riots posted online shows mobs burning and wrecking businesses, which included liquor stores, hotels and hair salons.

Note the two important facts here that play over and over whenever Christians are persecuted under Islam: 1) Despite their frequency and severity, they “receive little international attention” (indeed, only the most spectacular of terrorist attacks on Christians—such as the 2010 Baghdad church attack which left some 60 dead—ever receive mainstream media attention); and 2) as usual, the attacks followed “a sermon last Friday by a local mullah” (in other words, are Islamic in nature).

As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, after pointing out that “Iraqi Christians … are living in fear,” U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf said:

“Now with the [U.S.] forces leaving … I think the Iraqi Christians are going to go through a very, very difficult time.” … He urged the Obama administration to do more to speak up on the issue. “They know this is a problem. Our government ought to be advocating and ought to be pushing.”

It ought to, but it’s not. After calling the U.S. government’s silence concerning the blatant persecution of Iraq’s Christians “disturbing,” the founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council added: “We’re on the verge of extinction.”

Writer Kenneth Timmerman, who recently returned from Iraq, was asked in an interview “what if anything is the U.S. doing to alleviate the plight of Christian minorities … in Iraq?” His response:

Under President Obama the U.S. is doing nothing. They are putting no pressure on Al-Maliki in Iraq. … I just returned from Northern Iraq … I can tell you that this is a community that is on the verge of extinction. The Assyrian Chaldean Syriac community in Iraq [i.e., the Christian community] constitutes the indigenous people of Iraq. They have been there for millennia. They are being driven out by Jihadi Muslims on the one hand and by Kurdish Nationalists on the other.

Worse, whereas Iraq’s Christians were in the habit of fleeing to neighboring countries for refuge, in light of the so-called “Arab Spring,” these countries are no longer safe, as their own Christians are increasingly targeted.

In fact, by pushing for “democracy” and “elections, the Obama administration has helped unloose some of the most anti-Christian—not to mention anti-Western, anti-Israel, in a word, anti-infidel—forces in the region. Consider Syria, for instance, where many Iraqi Christian refugees have fled to:

As the Assad regime comes under mounting international pressure, Christians, who comprise around ten per cent of the population, are particularly concerned about what the future holds for them and Iraqi Christian refugees living in the country. Should Assad fall, it is feared that Syria could go the way of Iraq post-Saddam Hussein. Saddam, like Assad, restrained the influence of militant Islamists, but after his fall they were free to wreak havoc on the Christian community; hundreds of thousands of Christians were consequently forced to flee the violence. Many of them went to Syria. … Most of the Iraqi Christians living in Syria are worried because they do not want to see Syrian Christians passing through the same path as happened with them in Iraq.

As if all this was not enough, Pamela Geller reports that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under Sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”

Such is the increasingly surreal world we live in.

(© 2011 Raymond Ibrahim – original url: http://www.meforum.org/3135/iraq-christians-extinction)


Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, and guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College.