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International Christian Concern

2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #941 Washington DC 20006-1846

www.www.persecution.org / Email: [email protected]

For Immediate Release
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CHRISTIANS FACE UPHILL BATTLE IN IRAQ AMIDST MARGINALIZATION AND HARASSMENT


(ICC – January 27, 2005) – As ballot boxes are being distributed all over Iraq today, Iraqi Christians are getting overlooked. Even as it seemed groups like ChaldoAssyrian Christians in Iraq would gain freedom from the liberation of the country, they are increasingly finding themselves in an uphill battle during their daily lives.

The Washington , DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has followed the plight of the ChaldoAssyrians closely, and is calling for action to help this minority in Iraq . ChaldoAssyrian Christians are Iraq ’s indigenous people, and have undergone intense persecution 100 years before the U.S. led invasion of Iraq . ChaldoAssyrians are continually singled out by insurgents and by the neighboring Kurds. These Christians have endured suicide bombings at their churches, acid thrown on women for not wearing the hijab, kidnappings for profit, and the murder of store owners.

In addition, the Kurdish authority has withheld crucial funding from the Kurds and have been linked to paramilitary groups targeting the ChaldoAssyrian villages in the Assyrian Administrative Region to the east of Mosul . Out of the 20 billion USD that was designated and distributed to rebuild Iraq , the Kurdish administrators have released no money for reconstruction in ChaldoAssyrian areas. Leading up to the election, the Assyrian town of Bakhdeda has come under attack from groups linked to Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The KDP militia threatened Christians in the area and has attempted to coerce them from participating freely in the upcoming elections. Essentially, the KDP offered the ChaldoAssyrian Christians armed protection, if they would transfer their support from ChaldoAssyrian political parties to the KDP. The Assyrian International News Agency quoted one Assyrian villager regarding the KDP, “These thieves actually flaunt their close ties to the US military as if to say ‘there’s nothing you can do to stop us.’”

ICC condemns the treatment of the ChaldoAssyrians, and is asking the international community to join them in advocating on their behalf. In order for Iraq to be truly free, we must protect the indigenous people of Iraq . ICC also calls on the Kurdish Authority and the Iraqi government to provide the necessary security, and support for this ancient and important minority group.

ICC is a Washington , D.C. based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department.

For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441. To be removed from this press release list, hit reply and put “remove from PR list” in the subject line.

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