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Article: We must not let this ancient Church slide into oblivion

April 2, 2007

Iraq’s Assyrian Christians face extinction four years after the toppling of Saddam. From Ed West (The Catholic Herald):

“When they cook a dish in the Middle East, it is traditional to put the meat on top of the rice when they serve it. They kidnapped a woman’s baby in Baghdad, a toddler, and because the mother was unable to pay the ransom, they returned her child – beheaded, roasted and served on a mound of rice.” The infant’s crime was to be an Assyrian, but this story, reported by the Barnabus Fund, went unnoticed in the West, like so many other horrific accounts of Christian persecution in Iraq.

Since the invasion of Iraq, Muslim militants have bombed 28 churches and murdered hundreds of Christians. Last October, Islamists beheaded a priest in Mosul in revenge for the Pope’s remarks about Islam at Regensburg. But never let it be said that jihadis do not have a sense of ironic humour: that same month they crucified a 14-year-old Christian boy in Basra.

The latest report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that two million Iraqis have fled since the invasion, and almost a third of these are Assyrian – who are down from 1.4 million in Saddam’s Iraq to fewer than 500,000 today.

The Assyrians are one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Their empire collapsed in 612 BC after four and a half millennia of civilisation; Rome was still a village and the Angles and Saxons were a thousand years away from forming a partnership. Now, while one of the world’s oldest Christian nations faces extinction at the hands of Islamic extremists, the West does nothing.

Full article here.

See also:
Time: Iraq’s Christians flock to Lebanon

Related Posts:
Theme: Christians under the New Tyranny in Iraq

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