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July 27, 2007

Situation In Iraq And Elsewhere Dire For Non-Muslim Minorities

Topics: Iraq

As Patrick Poole noted in his piece earlier this month, "Islam's Global War against Christianity,"
from Nigeria to Indonesia, Christians are under siege in virtually every single country in the Muslim world, the victims of countless acts of discrimination, depredation, brutality, and murder that are so widespread and systematic that it can rightfully be called the new Holocaust. However, as he suggests, this time, the perpetrators of this Holocaust aren't wearing swastikas, but kufi skull caps and hijabs.

[...] Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are subject to relentless attack and teeter on the brink of extinction at the hands of the "Religion of Peace": Palestinian Christians in Gaza and the West Bank; Assyrian, Syriac and Chaldean Christians in Iraq; Coptic Christians in Egypt; Evangelical and Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea; Armenian Orthodox Christians in Turkey; and Maronite Christians in Lebanon.

Several of these communities date back to the beginning decades of Christianity and all have weathered wave after wave of Islamic persecution for centuries and more, but in the very near future some will simply cease to exist. In our lifetime, the only trace of their past existence will be in footnotes in history books (and probably only Western history books at that).

[...] But an extensive search this past weekend of the websites of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Student Association, the Fiqh Council of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee - the most visible institutional representatives of Islam in America - found not a single mention or reference of the religious persecution of Christians by their Islamic co-religionists, thereby making them tacit co-conspirators in the Final Solution to the Christian problem in the Muslim world.

The global war on Christianity by Islam is so massive in size and scope that it is virtually impossible to describe without trivializing it. Inspired by Muslim Brotherhood ideology and fueled by billions of Wahhabi petrodollars, the religious cleansing of Christians from the Muslim world is continuing at a break-neck pace, as the following recent examples demonstrate.

And according to a panel of witnesses who testified Wednesday on Capitol Hill in a hearing convened by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, these Koran-inspired attacks by fundamentalist Muslims on non-Muslims are behind the exodus of non-Muslim minorities in every Muslim-majority area of the world, with only one exception--Israeli Jews. This is especially the case in Iraq, whose outnumbered Christians and other religious minority groups are targets of a terror campaign and are facing a dire situation where killings and rapes have become the norm:

[...] Iraq's outnumbered Christians and other religious minority groups are targets of a terror campaign and are facing a dire situation where killings and rapes have become the norm, a panel of witnesses testified yesterday on Capitol Hill.

... Canon Andrew White, vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, and four other panelists unfolded tales of horrors overtaking Christians, Yezidis (angel worshippers) and Mandaeans, members of a pacifist faith that follows the teachings of John the Baptist.

"The situation is more than desperate," said Mr. White, who described how Christians in Baghdad have been told to convert to Islam or be killed. Hundreds of those who could not afford to flee the country are living in churches without adequate food or water, he said.

"In the past month, 36 members of my own congregation have been kidnapped," he said. "To date, only one has been returned."

Iraq's eight remaining Jews, now hiding in Baghdad, are "the oldest Jewish community in the world," he said, referring to the 597 B.C. Babylonian conquest of ancient Judah that brought the Jews to the region as captives.

[...] "The international community has done nothing to help these people," Mr. White said, explaining that the group is trying to emigrate to an Iraqi Jewish enclave in the Netherlands, which won't admit them.

Michael Youash, director of the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project, called the situation "soft ethnic cleansing." The "de-Christianization of Iraq" is not far off, he predicted, saying that Washington has refused to help Iraqi Christians, whose common faith with many Americans has made them loathed by Muslim radicals.

"The State Department just dismisses this as part of an overall conflict," he said. "But Christians are being disproportionately targeted. The attacks are purely vindictive and vicious. They are meant to give a message."

Continue reading, Iraq's perils dire for minority faiths.

The National Catholic Register reports much of the same, saying that blind fanaticism is reaching unprecedented heights in Baghdad in particular, and for the Christians who live throughout Iraq it is turning into a nightmare:

Persecution against Christians is being unleashed in many cities and neighborhoods where Christians and Muslims coexisted peacefully, if somewhat coldly, some years ago. In fact, the patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, Archbishop Emmanuel III Delly, called it "open persecution, as in the early centuries of the Church."

In Baghdad, especially in the neighborhood where Christians have their main Church buildings, the structures are being bombed, desecrated and looted, crosses torn down or broken and hosts trampled.

Priests and deacons are being abducted, often ransomed, and sometimes killed.

Families are being thrown out of their homes without notice or forced to abjure Christianity and embrace Islam.

Businesses are being robbed, men abducted and killed -- or released in exchange for a huge ransom that leaves families without any resource.

There are also threats and intimidation designed to have young Christian women married off to Muslims, and extortion occurs in the form of forcing payment of the jizya (Islamic tax for non-Muslims).

[...] In a country like Iraq, where Christians numbered around 2 million a few years ago, there are only 600,000 left.

At the beginning of the 20th century, ... there were around 1.5 million Christians in Aleppo, Syria. They are now 100,000.

... the same process is eroding the Christian presence in the whole Middle East, the cradle of Christianity.

Back in October 2003, Jamie Glazof wrote at FrontPage Magazine, "The widespread persecution of Christians is an increasing phenomenon in the Islamic world. Aside from its obvious tragic and horrifying ingredients, what is the significance and meaning of this persecution? Why is it almost never mentioned in the Western media? How is it connected to the conflict between the West and militant Islam? Why should America be concerned? The informative discussion that followed included Walid Phares, Bat Ye'or, Paul Marshall and Habib Malikthat, and readers will find that it offers some interesting insights into the problem of the persecution of non-Muslims by Muslims. As Walid Phares put it, "The Jihadists are waging a war of Civilizations even if the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not."

Suggested readings:

The Guardian, November 3, 2001 - Salman Rushdie on Islam versus Islamism

Jihad Watch, February 1, 2005 - Persecution of Christians in the Muslim world

Human Rights (links) - Islamic Persecution of non-Muslims

Hat tip - Atlas Shrugs, Iris Blog

Posted by Richard at July 27, 2007 11:12 AM

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