Chris Bowen, Australia’s federal Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, here details how life has grown so much worse in recent years for non-Muslims in Iraq. He never explains, however, that this is because of the resurgence of groups dedicated to establishing Islamic law in Iraq, and the fact that that law institutionalizes discrimination against non-Muslims.
“Iraqi minorities’ long wait for freedom,” by Chris Bowen for the Sydney Morning Herald, July 16 (thanks to all who sent this in):
[…] Mandaeans, followers of John the Baptist, have non-violence as one of the tenets of their religion. Any form of violence, even in self-defence, is forbidden. They have thus been particularly vulnerable to attack. The much more numerous Assyrians and Chaldeans have also suffered significantly.
This group are descendants of the ancient Assyrian empire, but no longer have a nation state to call their own. They predominantly live in Iraq’s north and are Christians.
It is hard to pinpoint the numbers of these minorities in Iraq. However, credible estimates put Assyrians and Chaldeans as 4 per cent of the population of Iraq, while they have constituted 40 per cent of the refugees leaving Iraq.
Jordan and Syria have 2 million Iraqi refugees living within their borders, and they are not allowed to work. They live, by and large, in squalor, and they often rely on their children to bring in a little income. Thousands of children are being turned to crime to support their family.
It is estimated that there were 1.5 million Assyrians and Chaldeans in Iraq before the war; 600,000 are left, at most.
Two thousand Assyrians and Chaldeans are still leaving Iraq every day. Churches have been bombed, priests and bishops kidnapped and murdered.
As the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said, “The situation of members of non-Muslim religious communities has been noticeably aggravated since the invasion of coalition forces”.
Hundreds of thousands of Assyrian and Chaldean refugees live in desperate circumstances in Syria and Jordan. It is simply too dangerous for them to return….