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(ANS) – Secret documents show Saddam Hussein’s regime and local Kurdish leaders were involved in the “ethnic cleansing”, “gassing” and “Islamization” of Assyrian Christians in Northern Iraq , with international religious aid organizations refusing to intervene, an Assyrian official claimed Wednesday, August 4. Rev. Ken Joseph Jr., a leader of the Assyrian Christian community, said he had obtained evidence confirming a “decades-long pattern” of persecution by the previous Iraqi ruler, who is now awaiting trial in an Iraqi prison for alleged atrocities. “Entitled `The Settlements And Villages Of The Christian Assyrians In The Region Of Kurdistan Iraq `, an apparently official 104-page report, “is a shocking view of a previously mostly unknown campaign of terror against a tiny minority in Iraq ,” he added. He claimed at least 290 villages were destroyed during the “terror campaign” adding that “entry after entry reads `demography forcibly changed`, “destroyed`, `disappeared` `gas holocaust` and `intifada`. “What is in many ways even more shocking, though is what forms the subtitle of the report the role of International Aid Organizations, in many cases religious ones, in the effort,” Joseph Jr. said.
Joseph Jr. suggested however that the international community will face an uphill battle as church leaders have told him villages have been destroyed while churches, seminaries and homes were reduced to rubble. “It is careful and organized plan to get all Christians out of Northern Iraq , particularly in an area where we have the historical right to be there` said the activist who was jailed under the regime of Saddam Hussein for his activities.