Report: In Iraq, Christians fear they could be wiped out
Excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor:
Christians, most of them eastern rite Catholics, trace their history in this country to the earliest days of Christianity. Before the 2003 war, there were up to a million Christians here – about 3 percent of the population. Half that number is estimated to have left in the past seven years, continuing an exodus begun after the 1991 Gulf War when Saddam Hussein’s secular regime turned increasingly Islamic.
Although thousands of Assyrian Christians and others were killed under Iraq’s Ottoman rule a century ago, the attack on the church last week is the worst in the country’s recent history. The attack, claimed by an Al Qaeda-linked group, was followed two days later by 16 bombings in Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad that killed at least 70 people.
The vast majority of the tens of thousands of victims of Iraq’s violence since 2003 have been Muslim, but the small size of Iraq’s Christian minority and the nature of the attack have sent shock waves throughout the community.
“They kill us not because we are Iraqi but because we are Christian,” says Father Douglas al-Bazi, who has permanent injuries after being kidnapped and tortured four years ago. “It is different if I die by a bomb or in an accident – I will not say that I’m dying because of Christianity but they entered the church and they know inside the church there are only Christians. Our leaders say, ‘We ask the Christians to be patient – to have the courage to live together to live hand in hand with the Muslims … Why are we begging? Saying, ‘Please, please,’ for what? To let us survive?”
Full report here.
Article: The Death of Iraq’s Christians