News Release from Persecution.com Analysis by me at the end
Recent attacks on Christian-owned businesses in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region have put believers on edge in an area that was formerly considered safe for Christians.
In a sermon on Dec. 2, 2011, Mullah Mala Ismail Osman Sindi complained of moral corruption in the northern town of Zakho. Incited by the sermon, a Muslim man stood up afterward and called out the names of Christian-owned businesses. A group of young men then marched to Zakho carrying banners declaring “There is no God but Allah.” They attacked and burned about 30 businesses, most owned by Christians. The men also tried to attack a Christian neighborhood in Zakho, but they were stopped by authorities. A VOM team in the region had to evacuate quickly.
Violence erupted again the following morning, Dec. 3, in two Christian neighborhoods on the outskirts of Dohuk, where Muslims attacked liquor stores and burned a Christian cultural club. Two days later, on Dec. 5, smaller incidents of violence against Christian communities were reported near the Kurdish capital of Erbil and in the center of Sulaymaniyah, 124 miles to the south.
“The interesting thing with this incident is the place where it happened,” said Emanuel Youkhana, an archdeacon of the Assyrian Church of the East. “[The Kurdish Regional Government] is, for the most part, safe and secure, and all inhabitants enjoy prosperity and security, until now at least. The future is, by all means, bleak for Christians and other minorities living there.”
Local sources said the attacks were organized by a pro-Islamic party influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood. The attacks reflect a growing attitude of intolerance among many Muslims in Iraq. Kaldo Oghanna, the general secretary of the Chaldo-Assyrian Student and Youth Union, said the attacks threaten the Kurdish region’s stability and safety.
“This attack is not a normal attack,” Oghanna said. “It threatened our businesses, and it is threatening the situation in Kurdistan. They attacked the democracy of the Kurdish region, its safety and security. Of course, we think these are international and domestic influences that made this situation escalate, but we also think this is in the mentality of those people, that they do not tolerate those who are different. This is our real struggle.”
Kurdistan had long been a region of safety for Christians in Iraq. Thousands had moved to the region from elsewhere in Iraq during the conflict. The vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, told VOM partner Release International, “We had placed so much hope on the fact that there was one place in Iraq where Christians could find security and a future. That place was Dohuk.
“Sadly, with the violence in the last few days, this hope has now gone. People are petrified and are saying, ‘What happens to us now?’ Will we stand with them and support them in this great difficulty? Faith shines a light into the darkness, hope into despair, gives a future where there is no future.”
Sources: Compass Direct News, Release International
Posted: December 16, 2011
When we fought for freedom, it should have been freedom for all. We put in troops and and a no fly zone to prevent the genocide of the Kurdish minority who were Muslims. I applaud that. Yet this Administration refuses to look at the idea of a safe zone for Christians. International report after international report speaks of the coming extinction of Christians in Iraq. Some even use the word genocide. Afghanistan is not much better. How can we be a Christian nation and not stand up for Christians’ lives under our charge? Oh, I forgot we are no longer a Christian nation according to our President. We are one of the largest Muslim nations. Okay, I don’t agree, but can we just treat everyone equally and push for the human rights of everyone? Pretend the Iraqi Christians are gay and give them foreign aid. Do something. Just to show you this is not new, here is an excerpt
from a report from a Syrian ArchBishop about the situation in Iraq.
A report by the church committee for Iraqi Refugees in al-Hassake, Syria.
“In some of the cities even the streets are almost empty of Christians.”
Their conditions are no longer bearable. The people are living behind locked doors, they are compelled to take long leaves of absence from work, in Mosul and other cities, as a result of the dangers they face at work.
The universities are almost empty of Christian students, as are the schools. In some of the cities even the streets are almost empty of Christians.
It is as if they are in prison: without work, without study, without Church meetings. Fear rules over all situations and in all places.
Threats and insults are daily occurrences, and offensive graffiti is daubed on the walls of the homes of these innocent people.
There is no getting around this problem nor is there a solution to it. The people are deprived of everything that could bring security to their lives; all they can do is depend on God’s mercy or leave for the north. However, travelling to the north requires great financial means for paying the very high rent of homes there, and meeting the cost of living.
Images of the bitter reality
If a Christian wishes to rent out his house and leave, the terrorists will force the person renting the house to pay the rent to them, because according to them this house is theirs by right. And, if he dared to sell it they would threaten the person who bought it, so in the end all the money would go to the terrorists.