And all of it was perpetrated by Sharia supremacist groups acting in the name of Islam. “‘Obliterating’ Iraq’s Christians,” by Nina Shea in the Washington Post, May 14:
What is most startling about the report of the heartless double bus bombings on May 2 that targeted and injured 80 Christian students traveling to northern Iraq’s Mosul University was that the young Christians there attend university at all. Since the U.S. invasion, Iraq’s Christians have been mostly driven out of the country by violence directed against them for their religion. Their communities are shattered. That these young people continued to dream of preparing themselves to serve their country signals that community’s deep commitment to Iraq and a modicum of hope they still harbor for its future.
Unless the Obama administration acts fast to develop policies to help them, though, their hope will likely be in vain.
Relentless waves of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, extortions and rapes have triggered a mass exodus of Christians from Iraq over the past seven years. Since 2003, over half of the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Christians, as well as some Protestants have fled to Syria, Jordan and farther flung places. While only 3 or 4 percent of Iraq’s pre-2003 population, they account for 40 percent of its refugees, the UN reported.
Christians remain the largest non-Muslim minority there but church leaders express a real fear that the light of the faith in Iraq that is said to have been kindled personally by Thomas, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles, could soon be extinguished. Iraq’s other non-Muslim religions, the much smaller groups of Mandeans (followers of John the Baptist), Yizidis (an ancient angel-centered religion), Bahai’s and Jews are also all being forced out by violence.
Religious persecution in Iraq is so “egregious” that the country has now been included, alongside the likes of notoriously repressive Iran and China, on a recommended short list of “Countries of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act, by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
No Iraq group, Muslim or non-Muslim, has been spared massive and appalling religiously-motivated violence; however, as the independent federal commission found, the one-two punch of extremist ruthlessness and deep governmental discrimination now threatens the “very existence” of Iraq’s ancient Christian churches, some of whom still pray in Aramaic, the language of Jesus of Nazareth….