You don't have to be a member of the far-left to
question what has happened in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003. During
Holy Week, we should all consider the plight of Iraqi Christians and their
possible extinction. This is something we can do something about. We should
demand that the White House immediately order U.S. troops in Iraq to protect the remnants
of the Christian community.
There were nearly a million Christians in Iraq before the war and about
half of them have left the country. Dozens of Christian churches have been
attacked, bombed or destroyed and some Christian children have reportedly
been crucified by Islamic terrorists. The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of
Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was
recently kidnapped and murdered. Some Christians left in Iraq don't go to church for
fear of being targeted for death. Some priests don't wear clerical garb for
the same reason. Pope Benedict XVI has pleaded with Bush to do something about
the plight of Iraqi Christians.
In another notorious incident, on October
Fr. Paulos Eskandar, a Syrian Orthodox priest, was abducted in Iraq and beheaded. His arms
and legs were also hacked off.
Bush should immediately pick up the phone and tell
David Petraeus, Commanding General of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq, to use the "surge" of
U.S. forces to defend the Christians
left in that war-torn country. If they cannot for some reason be defended,
then let the Christians be escorted by our troops out of Iraq to a place, like Crawford, Texas, where they can begin
Does Bush want to go down in history as the U.S.
President who launched a war that resulted in the destruction of the Christian
community in Iraq?
We know, of course that we can't count on the liberal
media to cover this unfolding catastrophe. They are interested in the war
as a political issue that can usher the Democrats into power in the White
So let's call on conservative commentators and
bloggers to stop their knee-jerk cheerleading for the Iraq War policy long
enough to seriously examine how the new and "democratic" Iraq has become a hellhole
In a statement
about the death of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, Bush sounded tough, saying,
"I send my condolences to the Chaldean community and the people of Iraq. I deplore the despicable
act of violence committed against the Archbishop. The terrorists will continue
to lose in Iraq because they are savage
and cruel. Their utter disregard for human life, demonstrated by this murder
and by recent suicide attacks against innocent Iraqis in Baghdad and innocent pilgrims
celebrating a religious holiday, is turning the Iraqi people against them.
We will continue
to work with the Iraqi government to protect and support civilians, irrespective
of religious affiliation."
But what exactly
is being done to protect Christians in Iraq?
Rosie Malek-Yonan, an Assyrian Christian who has testified before
Congress on this issue, says the Bush Administration has become a "silent accomplice"
to an "incipient genocide." She asks, "Will President Bush have the
courage to take off his blinders or will he continue to stumble in the dark
until his final day in office?" She suggests that the Bush Administration
is failing to deal with this embarrassing disaster because it is afraid of
having the United States, a perceived "Christian
country," being accused as "helping one of its own" in a Muslim country.
Is it not tragic
that U.S. troops, many of them Christian,
are not being specifically deployed to help their fellow believers in Iraq?
In his speech
on Wednesday, Bush said that the U.S. is "helping the people
of Iraq establish a democracy
in the heart of the Middle East." But no matter what has been accomplished in
Iraq, it is not a democracy
that benefits Christians and other religious minorities.
Earlier this year, the United States Commission
on International Religious Freedom drew attention to a coordinated series
of bomb attacks against churches and monasteries in Iraq. It reported, "At least
six people were reportedly wounded in seven separate attacks in Baghdad and Mosul as Christians were celebrating
Christmas and the Epiphany on Jan. 6; three days later, bombs targeted three
churches in Kirkuk. The attacks were the
latest to target Iraq's shrinking non-Muslim
population, many of whose members have fled the country in the wake of violence
directed against their communities."
The Commission says that Christians and other non-Muslims
in Iraq face "grave conditions"
in Iraq in the form of violence
from terrorists and "pervasive discrimination and marginalization" at the
hands of the national and regional governments and Muslim militia groups.
Bush calls Iraq a democracy, but its Constitution,
crafted with U.S. help, says no law should
be contrary to Islam. In Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO troops are desperately
propping up another Muslim government, a 23-year-old Afghan journalism student
by the name of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh has been sentenced to death for allegedly
distributing literature violating the tenets of Islam. The material had to
do with human rights for women.
Islamic extremists in Iraq have also been kidnapping
Christians, including at least nine priests, for ransom. The report adds,
"Christian leaders inside
and outside of the country reported that members of their Baghdad community,
especially in the district of Dora, received threat letters demanding that
Christians leave or be killed." As a result, more Christian families are fleeing.
In other incidents, the report says, "Chaldean
clergyman reported in April 2007 that 'in the last 2 months many Churches
have been forced to remove their crosses from their domes.' For example, Muslim
extremists climbed onto the roof and removed the cross of the Church of Saint George in Baghdad. In the Chaldean Church of Saint John, in the Dora district
of Baghdad, the parishioners decided to move the cross to a safer place after
repeated threats. The Chaldean Patriarchate in January 2007 officially transferred
Babel College, the major Chaldean seminary
and the only Christian theological university in the country, from the Dora
district in Baghdad to Ankawa near Irbil after months of closure
following kidnappings and threats against Christians. Between September and
December 2006, the rector and vice rector of the seminary were kidnapped in
Baghdad; both were released after
"The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary,
and it is just," Bush said in his speech on the anniversary of the start of
the Iraq War. But how can this be if it leads to the destruction of the Christian
community in Iraq? It is an absolute outrage
for this to be occurring under the auspices of a conservative Republican President
who claims to be a born-again Christian.
Pope Benedict XVI can be expected
to raise this issue with Bush when he comes to the U.S. for a visit in April.
We can raise it with the President now.
You can contact the White House here.
Please, Mr. President, do something immediately
before more Iraqi Christians are targeted on Good Friday and Easter for practicing
their faith. Order our troops into the field in order to protect Christian
churches and believers before more lives are lost.