Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: Despite having endured horrendous levels of violence and persecution over the past decade, many of Iraq’s remaining Christians are now contemplating finally abandoning their “ancient homelands.” President Obama said that was not something he would allow. It has not yet become clear how the U.S. and others in the coalition to fight ISIS will be able to sufficiently protect Iraq’s Christian community. The Christian community is locked in a debate about moving people out of the country or attempting to fight and create a safe haven in their homelands in Iraq.

09/29/2014 Iraq (WSJ) – Fadwa Rabban stayed in Baghdad after the 2003 U.S. invasion, and after her husband died in 2005. She stayed after a nearby blast blew out the windows of her home, and after friends and relatives left as Christians like herself increasingly became the target of Islamic militants. One Sunday in 2010, she went to church for a morning service with her son and daughter. That evening, the church was attacked by Islamic militants, leaving 58 dead.

“After that, I couldn’t stay,” said Ms. Rabban, 49 years old. In late 2012, she finally moved to Michigan with her children, joining a growing contingent of Iraqi Christians, known as Chaldeans or Assyrians, fleeing an intensifying campaign against religious minorities in Iraq.

As America again gears up for deeper military involvement in the Middle East, many Chaldeans are engaged in a fateful debate: Either get as many people out of Iraq as possible to safe havens, such as the United States, or stay and fight, possibly with U.S. help.

Iraq’s minority groups, including Christians, are more vocally pressing the Iraqi central government to set up militias to protect from Islamic militants. The militias would be part of a U.S.-backed plan for a national guard, but has met with resistance from Iraq’s government which fears militias may further destabilize the fragile country.

The Chaldeans, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, number in the hundreds of thousands in Iraq. They survived more than a century of intermittent persecution and a decade of often-brutal fighting since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Now, Iraq’s Chaldeans and other Christian communities face an existential threat in the form of the group known as Islamic State, or ISIL, which vows to kill anyone who doesn’t share its radical view of Islam.

While the White House and Congress haven’t specifically addressed what to do with the Iraqi Christian community, President Obama has made it clear that religious minorities in the region must be protected. “We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands,” Mr. Obama said in an early September speech.

[Full Story]