Thursday, June 28, 2007

Christian Suffering in Iraq

No comment on whether the US and its allies should withdraw from Iraq in the near future; however, in a sermon reported by Catholic News Service, Bishop Ibrahim draws attention to often overlooked facts about the treatment of Christians in Muslim lands.

The full article is available at Catholic Online. Below are excerpts.

‘Let Iraqis kill each other,’ Catholic bishop says, calling for U.S. withdrawal
Bishop Ibrahim said the situation of Christians in Baghdad, Iraq's capital, "is very, very bad," with Islamic terrorists threatening that they must convert to Islam or pay a special tax as protection money.

Even if they choose to leave, they are being threatened to leave any unmarried daughters behind so they can be taken as wives by Muslims and forced to convert to Islam, the bishop said.

But Bishop Ibrahim said he does not believe the Muslims killing and threatening Christians are from either of Iraq's two Muslim groupings – Shiites or Sunnis – but rather al-Qaida terrorists from outside Iraq.
"For a Christian to be killed in the Middle East is nothing new – it often happened in the second, third and fourth centuries that Christians were martyred for their faith – but for Christians to be killed in the 21st century, when the world's major superpower has 150,000 troops in that country, is a terrible thing," he said. "Why are they there if they cannot defend human life and human rights?"
The current situation puts Christians in the hazardous position of being perceived as being allied with the foreign occupiers, but the Americans provide no special protection for them, the bishop continued.

"We do not have weapons, we do not have a militia, and nobody is supporting us," he said. And even with some of the additional troops from the planned surge in U.S. forces already in place, there is no security in Baghdad, he noted.
When Father Ganni and the three subdeacons were killed June 3 by men wearing masks after leaving a church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul following Mass, the police did not even come to investigate, Bishop Ibrahim said. "Their bodies lay on the streets for two hours after they were killed."
Remon Samir Jiddou, parish council vice president at Mother of God, said there is not much fellow Chaldeans back in Iraq can do about the dangers they now face. "It's out of our hands; that's why we pray to God. All we have is our faith in God, that he will protect us."
For the full article, click here.

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