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Eradication of Iraqi Christians Underway in the City of Mosul

More than 15 Christians have been killed and over 15,000 displaced.

October 17,2008 Iraq (International Christian Concern)-Over fifteen Christians have been killed and more than fifteen thousand Christian Iraqis have fled the city of Mosul, 225 miles from Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

The violence against Christians erupted following a demonstration they staged asking for the reinstatement of article 50 of the Iraqi election law. The article guaranteed the representation of Iraqi Christian minorities in the country’s government by providing quotas for minorities. However, Iraqi officials removed the article when they enacted a new election law on September 26, 2008.

Though the violence against Christians began soon after the demonstration, there is a more fundamental reason behind it. Michael Youash of the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project told ICC, “There is an obvious effort that has been ongoing since late 2005 and early 2006 to ethnically and religiously cleanse Iraq of the Chaldean-Assyrian Christians.”

Extremists demanded that Christians either convert to Islam or leave the city of Mosul . Many Christians have been fleeing the city, leaving behind their homes and possessions. In some cases, Muslim radicals bombed Christian homes.

The Christians in Iraq are one of the most vulnerable religious groups. They are attacked by Sunni and Shiite Islamic extremists as well as by criminal gangs. The attacks have forced half of the estimated 1 million or so Iraqi Christians to leave their homes following the US invasion of the country in 2003. The Christians are soft targets for attacks by Islamic extremists because unlike the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Shiites, the Iraqi Christians do not have militias that protect them from attacks. Christian minorities also have not benefited from the recent surge in US troops, according to Mr. Youash. He called for greater security for Iraqi Christian minorities in order to protect them from Islamic extremists.

Mr. Youash urged Christians in the United States to be actively involved in finding a solution to problems faced by Iraqi Christian minorities. He told ICC, “We need conscious Christians in America to mobilize through any means they have to make the president (of the United States ) understand that something is needed to be done (to protect Iraqi Christians). And make sure the presidential candidates know they have to have a policy to prevent the cleansing of Assyrian/Chaldean Christians and other minorities from Iraq .”

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, “Islamic extremists are bent on destroying Christians from Iraq . The international community shouldn’t allow the Islamists to achieve their goal. Particularly, Christians in the United States should call their representatives and ask them to protect the Iraqi Christians against the ongoing violence.”

Please go to www.house.gov to find the information for your elected officials and alert them to what is happening to Christians in Mosul .

ICC calls upon Christians to pray for their Iraqi brothers and sisters. Christians should also assist their Iraqi brothers and sisters financially as they go through this difficult time.