Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
Loading

Featured Posts        



categories        



Links        



archives        



meta        




Nov 26th, 2008


Fearful Christians Hope to Flee

Iraq has lost more than half its 1-million Christian population

Iraq Christian Robert Esho
Iraqi Christian Robert Esho, 35, walks in Tal Kaeef, north of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, on Nov. 11, 2008. Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi Christians have been targeted by Islamic extremists who label them “crusaders” loyal to the United States. (Photo credit: Petros Giannakouris / AP)


November 25, 2008

TAL KAEEF, Iraq – Young Christian women in tight jeans mingle easily with Arab matrons draped in black, head-to-toe robes. Both church spires and mosque minarets rise above the low-slung houses. Violence is rare.

“The people here look out for each other – Arabs, Christians, Kurds, Yazidis. If all of Iraq was like this, it would be a great place,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Glosson, leading a U.S. Army patrol through Tal Kaeef’s medieval-like alleys.

And yet, many Christians here say they want to flee a town where their ancestors have lived for generations and, if possible, to abandon a country where their religion has survived for some 2,000 years – longer than in Europe – but one they fear is growing ever more violent.

“Nobody is threatening us, but it’s still dangerous. All the Christians want to leave. I want to leave now,” said Robert Esho, a 35-year-old resident, reflecting a national community on nerve-edge, where even small-scaled incidents can spark panic.

Leaving Mosul

Last month, in the nearby northern city of Mosul, about 10,000 Christians by government estimate bolted from their homes after several killings and intimidating incidents, generally believed to have been carried out by Islamic militants. …

The recent flight of Christians occurred against a backdrop of violence against the faith.

Churches, priests and businesses of the generally prosperous, well-educated community have been attacked by militants who denounce Christians as pro-American “crusaders” – a reference to the European knights who warred against the Muslim Middle East in the 9th through the 11th centuries. Some Christian women now wear Islamic veils for fear of being set afire or killed.

In an exodus which began after the 1991 Gulf War, and escalated dramatically after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraq has lost more than half its Christian population of some 1 million.

Deadliest city

In Mosul, now Iraq’s deadliest city, this year opened with coordinated attacks on churches and monasteries as Christians celebrated Epiphany. The body of Paulos Rahho, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, was found in March following his abduction by gunmen after a mass. …

Tal Kaeef, with some 20,000 people, has been largely spared the worst violence, having made an effort to isolate itself from Mosul, some 12 miles to the south, and retain its traditional tolerance. …

It is encircled by a defensive earthen wall erected in recent years and protected by Iraqi forces and Kurdish militia, said Glosson, a platoon leader with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Huntsville, Ala. …

Atmosphere of fear

When a car bomb exploded this summer at the town’s police station, Christian families living nearby fled their homes in the mistaken belief that they had been the targets, the lieutenant said.

And last month, some 200 Mosul families found refuge here, further fueling anxiety. These included Hanny Kamel Nasser, his wife, five children and other relatives, who fled to the town after his cousin was killed by gunmen in Mosul “just because he was a Christian.”

Nasser said he was more afraid of the climate of violence in Iraq than the religious divide between Christians and Muslims. …

Nasser said he wants to sell his vehicle repair shop and move his family to where many are fleeing — villages farther north and west in Nineveh province which are predominantly Christian and protected by the Kurds and even their own armed guards. Some Christian groups harbor what is probably a hopeless dream: carving out an autonomous zone in this region. …

Down a narrow, winding alley crowded with square, stone and mud houses with high walls and inner courtyards – variously reminding Glosson’s soldiers of medieval Italy and biblical times – stands the imposing Church of the Sacred Heart of the Chaldean Catholic Church, some of whose members still speak Aramaic, the language of Christ, and recognize the authority of the pope. …

————————————————

Related reports on this site

Video

Iraq’s Christians under siege (NBC News, Jan. 25, 2011) – Extremists have stepped up attacks on Iraqi Christians in recent months, threatening the ancient community’s very existence. NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk reports. (02:47)

Christian Persecution Continues in New Iraq (Aug. 3, 2011)

Christians Fleeing New Iraq (Jan. 20, 2011)

Christians Persecuted in Iraq (Dec. 30, 2010)

After Saddam, Christian Persecution in New Iraq (Dec. 19, 2010)

Rivers of Christian Blood in Iraq (Nov. 3, 2010)

Catholic Hostages Killed in Iraq (Oct. 31, 2010)

Christian Cleansing in Iraq (July 12, 2009)

In Iraq, an Exodus of Christians (May 16, 2009)

Gunmen Kill Two Christian Sisters in Iraq’s Mosul (Nov. 12, 2008)

Christians Flee Iraqi City (Oct. 12, 2008)

——————————————————————

Two U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq Shooting

Gunman in Iraqi army uniform opened fire in Mosul area


November 25, 2008

BAGHDAD – Two American servicemen were killed Tuesday when a gunman in an Iraqi army uniform opened fire while they were distributing humanitarian aid in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

It was the third such shooting in the Mosul area in less than a year purportedly involving Iraqi soldiers, raising concerns about infiltration of the Iraqi security forces in one of the most dangerous areas in Iraq. …

The attack killed a Marine and an Army soldier on a transition team working with the Iraqis, a military statement said. Two Marines and three Iraqi civilians also were wounded, it said. …

The attack came two weeks after an Iraqi soldier ambushed U.S. soldiers in a courtyard of an Iraqi military base in a dangerous Sunni Arab neighborhood in Mosul, killing two Americans and wounding six before he died in the subsequent gunbattle. …

Last December, an Iraqi soldier also allegedly shot and killed a U.S. captain and a sergeant during a joint operation in Mosul, which is 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. …

—————————————————

Related report on this site

Iraqi Soldier Kills U.S. Troops (Nov. 13, 2008)

—————————————————

Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Nov. 25, 2008, as reported by Reuters.

NINAWA PROVINCE – Two U.S. soldiers were killed in a small-arms fire attack. Two Marines and three civilians were also wounded in the attack, the U.S. military said.

SUWAYRA – Police recovered bodies of two men with gunshot wounds and signs of torture from the Tigris river in the northern town of Suwayra, 30 miles southeast of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded two people on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, police said.

SALMAN PAK – Two mortar bombs wounded six people on Monday when they landed on residential areas of Salman Pak, 20 miles southeast of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi army detained 65 militants in the previous 24 hours across Iraq, the Defense Ministry said.

Be Sociable, Share!




15 Responses to “Christians on the Run in Iraq”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » The Pope’s Christmas Message Says:

    [...] The Shi’ite-led Iraqi government declared Christmas Day a national holiday to show what it said was its solidarity with minority non-Muslim religious groups in Iraq. [...]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Americans ‘Pro-Life’ on Abortion Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Christian Cleansing in Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Catholic Hostages Killed in Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Rivers of Christian Blood in Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  7. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Thanksgiving Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq [...]

  8. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq [...]

  9. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » After Saddam, Christian Persecution in New Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  10. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » The Pope’s Christmas Message 2010 Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  11. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Christians Persecuted in Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  12. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Christians Fleeing New Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  13. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » The Pope’s Easter Message 2011 Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  14. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq Security Blunder Feeds Doubt Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

  15. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Christian Persecution Continues in New Iraq Says:

    [...] Christians on the Run in Iraq (Nov. 26, 2008) [...]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.