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Targeting Iraq ‘s Christians

ICC Note

Christians are coming under attacks in the Islamic countries. The growth of Islamic fundamentalism in Gaza , Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries has resulted in suffering of Christians.

April 4,2008 Iraq (Middle East Online) – The gunmen used silencers on their weapons when they assassinated Assyrian Orthodox priest Youssef Adel outside his home in Baghdad last Saturday. But their message was loud and clear: Iraq ’s dwindling Christian minority is the target of a cruel bloodletting.

Many lay Christians in Iraq complain that radical Muslim groups have given them a choice: convert to Islam, leave, or die. Christian women have been warned to wear headscarves.

Iraq ’s Christians are targeted by both radical Sunnis and Shi’ites. Unlike those Islamic sects, Christians do not have militias or large tribes to protect them. That leaves them particularly vulnerable to kidnappings and ransom demands by criminal gangs, who may pose as Islamic radicals — or by the real radicals who target Christians because of their beliefs.

With Hamas in Gaza and the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt –and variations on that theme throughout the region — it is a worrying time to be a Christian. Arab Christians today must watch with unease and genuine fear the rise in power and influence of Islamist politics and the subsequent Islamicization it has inspired — even among so-called secular dictators.

Whether it’s al-Qaeda’s murderers in Iraq , or Islamist prejudice in other parts of the Arab world, the defense of minorities in the Arab world must not be left only to the Vatican or Western church leaders. We then encourage the dangerous notion that Arab Christians are somehow alien to the very region which gave birth to their faith (and its rightful affiliation with the other two Abrahamic religions).

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