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Iraqi Areas Are Being Emptied of Christian Assyrians

By Haore Sulaiman

ICC Note: Christians are fleeing to Jordan to escape from the suffering they would endure if they stayed.

5/23/07 Iraq For full story…(Assyrian International News Agency) Months after the American and allies’ invasion of Iraq , a systematic persecution with the purpose of exterminating the ethnic Christian natives in Iraq started. Since then, many churches have been bombed, priests have been killed, nuns raped and children kidnapped. All according to the latest report, By God: Six Days in Amman , which is presented by the Assyrian relief organization Mor Afrem Foundation. In the report it is confirmed that whole areas nowadays are emptied of Assyrians (Syriacs and Chaldeans). The Dora district outside of Bagdad is an example of this. “It is hard to see any other reason for the killings than the Christian religion. The Christian minorities are being put even more in between the conflict, since they are seen as allies to the US ,” says Cristina Chamoun, responsible for the media outreach.

Since the allies’ war against Iraq , the neighboring country Jordan has received 750,000 refugees. Nobody knows how many of these are Assyrians. Various organizations estimate the number of Assyrians refugees from 30,000 to 150,000 people. Refugees in Jordan have no rights, since the country has not signed the UN convention of refugees, and the refugees are therefore, by the Jordanian state, considered as guests, and not refugees. Apart from that, only a small number of the refugees are registered by the UN.

“By God” is written by journalist Nuri Kino, who voluntarily spent six days in Jordan to meet Assyrian Iraqi families, who had fled the persecution in their country. Sad and gripping stories are told by the reporter. At times it feels like reading a thriller. “The fact that two million people have fled from Iraq , and that another two million are refugees in their own country, is a disaster that must not be neglected. But all facts also point to that non-Muslims are being victims of systematic ethnic cleansing,” says Nuri Kino says. “By God” is written as a diary, and contains facts about the war, the Christians’ situation and the political complications in Iraq . The report confirms that the non-Muslims are the greatest losers of the war. In some areas of Iraq , not being Muslim equals death.

The following is an excerpt from the report:

“Linda and Rita had been very afraid that evening. They had several reasons for their fear. The owner of the house they lived in had, already during Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, tried to evict them because of their religion. Two months before the fall of Saddam’s regime, they were at a trial. They had sued the landlord for trying to evict them because of their religion, something that was illegal in Iraq at the time. They won the trial. Two months after the fall of the regime, Samir was brutally beaten by the landlord’s cousins. They said that either he and his family would leave the house, convert to Islam, or face the consequences. He refused to do any of the things. The landlord’s niece spread rumors that they worked with the Americans, and the landlord’s son bragged about having them killed. On two different occasions the Americans drove Linda and Rita home, the landlord’s son had noticed this. Three days before they were killed, he threatened to have the whole family murdered. Three of the landlord’s sons now belong to the feared Shiite Mehdi guerilla.’You are the Americans’ spies, and we will teach you a lesson’, several Shiite youths yelled at them, when the dead bodies of their daughters were being brought for the funeral.”

The complete report is available on the homepage of the Assyrian magazine Hujada.