Sunday, November 14, 2004

Christians persecuted in the new 'liberated' Iraq

Many Christians supported allegedly 'Christian values' in the November 2 election. Do such 'Christian values' include making it easier for Muslims to persecute Christians in Iraq? Or are they just limited to 'gay marriage' and other ridiculous issues that the Christian public is fed while the real problems are consistently ignored.

Why Iraqi Christians are moving to Syria


The recent spate of attacks on Christian churches in Iraq is symptomatic of the general insecurity that Christians (about three percent of the population, around 800,000 people) face in the occupied country. The interim constitution states that "Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation" and while recognizing religious freedom "respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people." For some, Islamic identity means the imposition of Muslim morality. In Sadr City, the Mahdi militia is shutting down Christian-owned liquor shops. Some shop owners have been killed, some Christian women attacked for appearing in public inappropriately attired. Others have been attacked because of a widespread belief that Christians are abetting the occupation.

The irony here, of course, is that Saddam's Iraq was a secular state, ruled by the Baath Party. The Iraqi regime, although suspicious of and sometimes brutal towards the Shiite majority, supported Shiite and Sunni mosques, Assyrian and Chaldean Christian churches, and even the sparsely attended Baghdad synagogue, while forbidding proselytization in general. Saddam appointed Tariq Aziz, a Christian, to top posts; in response, enraged Islamists tried to assassinate Aziz in 1980. Osama bin Laden hated Saddam's Iraq for its specifically non-Islamic character. Now with the fall of the Baath regime, Islamic fundamentalists (of various types) have been unleashed to redefine the role of religion in the country. The U.S. occupation officially dissolved the huge Baath Party, purged Baathists from their posts (including those in medicine and education) and officially approved the wording of the constitution, while creating the power vacuum in which numerous Islamic militias now thrive.


At November 16, 2004 at 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that muslims are persecuted in mass numbers ny americans in iraq right now, lets be fair. It is mainly a problem that is being created by americans, but that does not make actions of fundementalism less bad.

At November 16, 2004 at 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Americans have created the problem, but that's no excuse for the Muslims to persecute Christians.

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