Monday, January 12, 2009

The Plight of Iraqi Christians

The anti-Christian persecution that is currently taking place in Iraq has only really arisen since mid-2006. Prior to that time, the Iraqi clergy with whom I maintain contacts were not appreciably worried about their relations with Islam. In fact, they considered the activities of American evangelists more threatening. What has brought about the turn about of events in 2006, which saw the purging of Dora, a suburb of Baghdad, which had a substantial Christian population is difficult to say. I am told that slogans written on the walls at Dora used to say 'Dora is for the Christians and Sunnis only' i.e. the Shi'i were unwelcome. In mid-2006 slogans began to appear saying 'Dora is for the Sunni'. As we all know, the majority of Christian families were driven out of their homes. It is extremely difficult to track the activities of the insurgency groups who have perpetrated these purgings and killings. They are chameleon-like: form, disbandon and reform with no predictable pattern. Insurgency groups will change affiliation, if it serves their purpose and ultimate goals, although it is important to realise that these are not static either. For Instance, the 20th Islamic Brigade, which was notoriously anti-American, changed its mind a couple of years ago, and linked up with the U.S. Forces, in a bid to gain ascendancy over al-Qaida. This volte was not seen as 'going back on principles', but one that pragmatic and would help justify their gaining power and control.

The recent purgings in Mosul of its ancient Christian population have been attributed either to Sunni insurgency groups or to Kurdish militia-men. With the forthcoming elections and the Kurdish penchant to extend its territories of influence much further south than has ever been traditionally known, it is widely held that the purging of the Christians was to reinforce those claims. Other communities, including the Yezidees and Turcomans, have also been subject to considerable pressure from the Kurds.

Read it all here.

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