Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Iraqi Christians Exodus - Revisited

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. You may have noticed lately that I stopped discussing this subject on this blog. It's because I don't want to feel the worthlessness of this minority when reading people's e-mails or comments in reaction to my words. We say in the Middle East, "If words are made of silver, then silence is made of gold."

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.

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