Iraq’s Persecuted Christians
Sun 29th Dec 2013
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 sizeable 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.
Examples of Crimes
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 neighbourhoods.
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 neighbouring Syria , with groups like Al-Qaeda, taking advantage of the vast borders, to cross from Syria into Iraq .
The United States have called on regional leaders, to take measures to police the funding and recruitment for Jihadist groups, and to deter the flow of foreign fighters into Syria, which includes over 200 British citizens, who go on to conduct suicide bombings against innocent civilians in Iraq.
Prior to the occupation of Iraq , the country was described as a "mélange of beliefs, customs and traditions." Despite a pre-war population of 5%, Christians made up 40% of Iraq 's post-war refugees.