Please do not read any kind of political message into our listing of this article. We are merely trying to highlight the situation of Iraqi Christians.
Christians in the city of Basra who rejoiced when Saddam Hussein fell are now facing another form of oppression from militant Shiites trying to impose Islamic law. In fact, the citys minorities say that even under Saddam they had more freedom to practice their religion than they do now.
Seattle Times – For Yousef Lyon and other Christians in Basra , the downfall of Saddam Hussein has meant a terrible loss of religious freedom. The social club where Lyon and his friends would gather in the evening to play dominoes, where families danced or listened to live music on holidays, is closed. Wedding celebrations are held quietly at home. “Of course, during the Saddam regime it was better,” said Lyon, 40, a member of the city’s small Armenian community. “Now we are afraid from the religious parties that maybe they will throw a bomb at us.” Not just the Christians, but many of the city’s minorities from obscure sects such as the ancient Sabeans to the Sunni Muslims who used to run Iraq and still predominate in the rest of the Arab world live in fear of the hard-line Shiite Muslim religious parties and their militias that now rule Iraq’s second-largest city ”Saddam Hussein was a criminal and an oppressor. Everybody knew that,” said Majid, 45, a Sunni taxi driver who said he was afraid to be identified further. “These new parties cry for society, but try to drink the blood of the people.” Saddam murdered thousands of Iraqis, most of them Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south. Shiites in Basra were particularly singled out in retribution for their leadership in a failed rebellion against Saddam in 1991, when U.S. forces refused to intervene to protect them after the Gulf War. But Saddam did not see Christians and other minorities in Iraq as a threat because of their smaller numbers and because his regime was secular and not as hostile to other religions or the rights of women as are some of Iraq ‘s current officials [Go To Full Story]