Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Attacks on Iraqi Christians cause mass exodus

Christians living in Iraq no longer feel safe and it is estimated that roughly half have already fled the country, The Associated Press reported Sunday.

“There is no future for us in Iraq” said Farouq Mansour, an Iraqi Christian. Mansour now lives in Syria after fleeing Iraq following his kidnapping by al-Qaeda gunmen. The gunmen ordered Mansour and his family to convert to Islam or pay a US $30,000 ransom for his release. His family paid the ransom after Mansour was held in captivity for 15 days.

Mansour’s case is not an isolated one. More and more Iraqi Christians are being forced to flee out of fear. They have been targeted in church bombings, threats and personal attacks, and some are allegedly being forced to pay the jizya, a fee for protection.

Violence against the Christian minority has increased in Iraq since the fall of the Hussein regime in 2003 and some Islamic insurgents view Christians as being loyal to the U.S. However, Iraq’s tiny Christian community does not have enough political or military influence to defend itself from attacks. A report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Wednesday states that Christians and other non-Muslims in Iraq “suffer pervasive discrimination and marginalization at the hands of the national government, regional governments, and para-state militias.”

A local Sunni human rights organization has denounced attacks on Christians and asked the Iraqi government to protect all Iraqis saying the “actions violate the values of Islam.”

For the full article, click here.


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