Iraq’s Persecuted Christians

By Hussein Al-alak

The Christmas day attacks against Iraq’s Christian community has once again thrust this besieged and dwindling minority back into the media.

Iraqi Christians have been reduced from a sizable minority of over 1.4 million people under Saddam, to less than 450,000, since the introduction of Democracy in 2003.

But the Christmas day bomb attacks, which killed over thirty people and injured countless others, is not unique to Christians in Iraq and since Al-Qaeda made their first appearance after the US/UK invasion, for over a decade, Christianity has carried a certain death sentence.

The Bishop of Mosul reported in 2006, that a fourteen year old boy had been found crucified in Al Basra. That same year, Paulos Iskandar, the Syriac-Orhtodox priest had his body dumped, having been beheaded by terrorists.

In March 2008, Paulos Faraj Rahho, archbishop of Mosul’s Chaldean community, was found dead after being abducted, while Youssef Adel, an Assyrian Orthodox priest, was fatally shot in a drive-by attack in Karrada, one of Baghdad’s safest and most diverse neighborhoods.

In October 2010, an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq left 58 people dead, after more than 100 people had been taken hostage during the evening Mass, at the Our Lady of Salvation Catholic cathedral in Baghdad.

Other incidents include the looting of churches and bomb attacks against congregations. Priests, deacons and nuns have also been victims of sectarian kidnappings and killings, with corpses and decapitated heads being left on the doorsteps of churches.

Many hostage negotiators, who deal directly with cases relating to Iraqi Christians, have noted different dialects of Arabic spoken by kidnappers, to that of Iraqi Arabic, with experts stating how ransom money is often used to fund further terrorist activities.

The increase in terrorist activities in Iraq coincides with advances being made by Assad in neighboring Syria, with groups like Al-Qaeda, taking advantage of the vast borders, to cross from Syria into Iraq.

– Hussein Al-alak is affiliated with the Iraq Solidarity Campaign. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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