We have posted on this issue before and the situation isn’t getting any better in Iraq for religious minorities, particularly Christians. The police cannot protect or are unwilling to protect religious freedom, according to a report released Friday by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
“[F]requent sectarian violence, including attacks on religious places of worship, hampered the ability to practice religion freely.”
“Christians also reported that Islamic extremists warned Christians living in Baghdad’s Dora district to convert, leave, or be killed.”
In a July 2007 hearing before the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Rev. Canon Andrew White, vicar of St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad noted:
“Violence against all Christians are increasing all the time.”
“So far no government has helped. No government has understood their needs. There has been a fundamental lack of understanding of the immediate nature of the conflict that we are now facing.”
Also in the article it noted:
“Regarding Iraq, the 2007 report noted that current estimates place the number of Christians living in Iraq at fewer than 1 million – down from the 1.4 million reported in the official 1987 census.”
“In August 2006, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Andreos Abouna of Baghdad stated that of the estimated 1.2 million Christians living in the country before the 2003 U.S.-lead offensive, only 600,000 remained.”
Comments: Dr. Rice was quoted as being concerned and stated:
“Freedom of religion is also integral to our efforts to combat the ideology of hatred and religious intolerance that fuels global terrorism.”
However, with all the forces the USA has in Iraq, virtually none are being assigned to this continuing problem. Not only that, little pressure seems to be put upon the Iraqi government to correct the on going injustices and violence perpetrated on Christians and other religious minorities. For all of the reports and discussions of this problem over the last two years, little or nothing is really ever done about it.
For Christians in the Western world, prayer is always in order for our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Also pressure should be brought to bear on the coalition governments involved in Iraq, particularly the USA.