Iraqi Christians rally against violence

 One of the legacies of the US-led invasion of Iraq has been sectarian violence it unleashed, not only between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, but also against the Christian minority. 

Yesterday I spoke to a gathering of 100 Iraqi Christians who met on the lawn in front of Parliament to mourn those who have been killed. They were particularly upset at the 58 Christians massacred in a Baghdad Catholic church at the beginning of this month. 

There is ongoing persecution of Assyrian Christians who have lived in Iraq since the early Christian period. When the US invaded in 2003 the community numbered around 1 million people, but since then hundreds of thousands have fled the country or been internally displaced. 

Those at the rally yesterday rightly believe our government should be strongly defending the right of Christians to practice their religion freely in Iraq.

11 Comments Posted

  1. Well in 429AD, Pope Gregory asked the Patriarch of Antioch to reverse this epoch of ignorance brought about by invasion from the Ottoman Muslims to the north.(Here we go with Religions again)

    He requested that schools be built (which is probably why I can write you now)and that people be educated in History, Mathematics etc.

    Thus there was no real need for the sort of slaughter visited upon this part of the world.

    I simply note that there are still Christian armies there today (Dubbya termed them the ‘Army of Compassion’)

    Show me a compassionate weapon – and I’ll refer to My Lai and all the Base instincts that lie just beneath the surface of the most civilized ‘Uman.

    Some of the problems you describe are endemic to my part of New Zealand today – how can we succeed as a society and engage in atrocity and alienation at the same time?

    I have the impression that the Crusades were something of a hobby, stemming from the time of Emperor Constantine – indeed Beggars in France would plead that they were headed ‘a la Saint Terre’ (to the Holy Land) – hence the word Saunter – as I recall it was a good Con at the time….

  2. Mark, don’t forget why the Crusades first happened – they occurred because the then rulers of the Holy Land were engaging in their own form of religious persecution; you had a Caliph that ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you had very high taxes on pilgrims at the best of times, and harassment at the worst of times.

  3. Leveret; there was nothing funny about the History of the Crusades that I noted – indeed it was grotesque toil to read….sorry I haven’t Bookmarked the Tome fyi.
    However – the main point I was assembling is that religion is not a reliable pointer for warfare.
    Christianity doesn’t teach it, nor Judaism, nor Muslim Ethos, not Bhuddism, Hinduism etc etc etc.
    So when various Media ascribe violence to a Religion – I feel as though someone is having a bit of a loan of my credulity.
    But yes, Richard the Lionheart (the one case I recall) used to slaughter all prisoners en masse.
    But then I was schooled by Monks who believed in the efficacy of violence – it’s quite possible I have an exceeding cynical view of all religion.

  4. @Mark – surely the following was in jest?

    Unfortunately, unfashionable as it may seem, Christians have a long history of violence throughout the Middle East

  5. Unfortunately, unfashionable as it may seem, Christians have a long history of violence throughout the Middle East (along with every other religious sect).

    Reading an Arabic version of the Crusades I was quite shocked to learn of the Atrocities perpetrated by the then King of England, Richard (the Lionheart)along with a number of others.

    When mass murder becomes a norm, tolerance and reason fly out the window.

    I think it an error to ascribe these kinds of acts to ‘sprirtual’ entities. All of the violence perpetrated runs agin the teachings of all religion.

    Greed, avarice – all the base motivations of humanity are the drivers – anyone involved in harming others has absolutely no claim on any religion, no matter what their purported claim.

    It is probably about time that foreign armies depart this whole region – the people that live there may then begin the process of healing, of peace.

    None-the-less I applaud your support of these people Mr Locke – NZ is generally too self-absorbed and detached from World events; partly geography – but in the Information Age, Ignorance becomes a less tenable attitude.

  6. @ Josh. Well the kurds are of a different ethnicity. I was listing religions not different ethnicities in Iraq. But sure if i was to list ethnicites i would include Kurds and many others! Iraq is a very diverse place.

  7. I rarely agree with Keith Locke, but this is one of those times where I do. It is great to see that there is support for a rally such as this.

  8. It is rather ironic that a war fought to bring “democracy” to Iraq, whatever other merits it may have, would appear to have opened up a Pandora’s Box of religious conflict. Saddam essentially didn’t care what religion a person was just so long as they presented no threat to his political power.

  9. Every single Iraqi whether they be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist… whatever, stands in solidarity with the Christians who were brutally murdered in the Baghdad Church. However i would just like to point out that Christians have always been able to freely practice their religion in Iraq. Before 2003 Iraq was one of those places where all traditions were celebrated from eid and ramadan to easter and christmas. Whoever is behind this disgusting attack does not represent the majority of Iraqis and never will. Also, we must not forget the rest of our brothers and sisters in the strugle, just a couple of days after this there were 14 co-ordinated bombings killing over 100 and injuring hundreds of people in mainly sunni areas. At the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters in humanity, religion should not divide it should unite. All of those suffering in Iraq are Iraqi.

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