Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Iraqi Christians Exodus

NOTE: Cross-posted on Fayrouz In Beaumont with minor modifications.

Two years ago, I wrote an Op-Ed for The Dallas Morning News about the exodus of Iraqi Christians from Iraq. As usual, very few people cared at the time. Almost every time I wrote about the situation of Iraqi Christians, I got the deaf ear from people if not verbal insults.

USCIRF, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, announced its recommendations to Secretary of State Rice on countries of particular concern. Here's the interesting part [ Via TAI ]:

In Iraq, an escalation in the level of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims threatens to halt political reconstruction. Targets of religiously motivated attacks also include secular Muslims, non-Muslim minorities, and women. The result is that many non-Muslim minorities are leaving Iraq, an exodus that may mean the end of the presence in Iraq of ancient Christian and other communities that have lived on those same lands for 2,000 years.


It only took two years for a U.S. government commission to confirm what I wrote back in 2004. They even used the word "exodus." That isn't bad after all.

And there's this from The Brownsville Herald:

May 2, 2006 - Three Iraqi men caught crossing the Rio Grande near Los Indios Saturday are asking for asylum, claiming they are members of the Middle Eastern nation's persecuted Christian minority.

Federal court records show that U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Ammar Habib Zaya, Aamr Bahnan Boles and Remon Manssor Piuz on an illegal entry charge shortly after they crossed into the United States from Mexico.

The three Iraqi nationals are facing six months in jail and a $5,000 fine after pleading guilty Monday to the federal misdemeanor before U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio.
The three are not expected to formally start the asylum process until after sentencing. A recent report, however, from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees shows that half of 500,000 Iraqi asylum seekers in Syria claim to be Christian despite making up less than 5 percent of Iraq's population.


Many Iraqi Christians moved to Syria during the last two years. Their financial situation isn't great and their future is unpredictable. But they have peace of mind. At least for now.


Blogger Ash said...

It is really sad that so many Iraqi Christians are leaving Iraq.
I hope that one day there will be many more Iraqi Christians in Iraq than ever before.
I love that Iraq has so many different people groups and so much history and culture. I hope it doesn't lose that.

5/06/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Fayrouz said...


people don't believe me we I say we didn't know who's Shia or Sunni.

Heck, we sometimes didn't know who's Christian or Muslim because we look alike in general.

5/07/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

My parents tell me exactly the same thing. They had Muslim friends, Christian friends. They even had Jewish friends and did not know they were Jewish. All their friends were simply 'Iraqis'.

5/08/2006 10:17:00 AM  

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