Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Numerous religious minorities suffer in Iraq

Mokhtar Lamani, a former Arab League special representative in Iraq, and He Hany Besada, a senior researcher at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, discuss the plight of Iraqi minorities in an op-ed in the September 8 edition of The Boston Globe.

This issue is often sidelined in the ongoing debate on Iraq. However, many ethnic minority leaders in Iraq describe the violence as genocide against minority populations.

“Minorities are especially vulnerable given the lack of militias to protect their communities, a practice often used by the Shi’ite and Sunni populations. Notwithstanding press coverage of the daily atrocities, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Sunnis and Shi’ites and, to a lesser extent, Kurds, the plight of the country’s disappearing minorities, who are caught in the cross fire of the ongoing conflict, does not feature high in the international debate on Iraq,” Besada and Lamani write.

They add: “With this tragic state of affairs and an absence of any semblance of normality, peace, and security, allowing both Shi’ites and Sunni extremists to use their discretionary power to bomb churches, massacre and rape women and girls, and engage in the forced conversion of numerous innocent Iraqi minorities every month, hundreds of thousands have fled the country since the overthrow of Saddam's secular Baathist-led government, and many more are attempting to run for their lives.”

Today, many Iraqi minorities have to pay a “protection tax” to avoid banishment from their ancestral lands or conversion to Islam. A failure to do so is in many cases punishable by death, according to the piece..

For the full article, click here.


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