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Saving Iraq ‘s Christians

The breakdown of order has allowed Islamists to unleash a constant stream of deadly violence

Father Raymond J. de Souza

03/11/2010 Iraq (The National Post)-This new decade has gotten off to a rough start for Christians living in the Islamic world. Just this week, hundreds of Nigerian Christians were killed by Muslims, though the religious dimension of that event is disputed. Just yesterday, in Manshera , Pakistan , suspected Islamists attacked the World Vision office, killing at least five people using bombs, hand grenades and guns. World Vision is the world’s largest Christian overseas relief and development agency, and its employees murdered yesterday — all Pakistanis — were assisting those still suffering from the Kashmir earthquake in 2005.

There was a massacre of Christians in Mosul , Iraq , on Jan. 2, and targeted killings of Christians throughout January and February. The “targeted killing” is an especially effective form of anti-Christian terror. A Christian — either a man or woman will do — is simply grabbed off the street by Islamists while walking to work or school, killed and the body dumped. No one can feel safe. When a Christian leaves home in the morning, he does not know if he will be killed that day solely for being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The figures show the general trend, and the acceleration due to recent violent persecution by Islamist bandits, unrestrained by the Iraq security forces. In 1932, Christians were 20% of the Iraqi population. By 1979, when Saddam came to power, they were 10%. After the first Iraq War in 1991, they were down to 5%. Since 2003 and the second Iraq War they are fewer than 3% and dropping rapidly.

The possible end of the Christian presence in Iraq — the land of Abraham — is an unspeakable sadness. Writing about this two years ago, I prayed that “fearsome justice” would be visited upon those who slaughter our fellow Christians in Iraq . That does not appear to be imminent. So while justice is delayed in Iraq , solidarity and charity in Canada is the best we can do.

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