Men Running, Women Pleading For God’s Mercy, Children Screaming Out Of Fear: ‘Cleansing’ In Iraq Of Christians Continues Unabated
Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
By Juliana Taimoorazy, Morning Star News – “Men running, women pleading for God’s mercy, children screaming out of fear, older women trapped under rubble and thick dust rising in the air. This has been a recurring scene in Iraqi cities for close to a decade.
Since June 26, 2004, Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) churches have come under attack more than 80 times. The most widely publicized assault came on Oct. 31, 2010, when Islamic terrorists wearing suicide vests invaded Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad during mass, shot two priests and then blew themselves up. When it was over, 62 people were killed and 78 injured.
For many people in the United States, news of this attack was their first exposure to the Assyrian people, whose history dates back to 4750 B.C. in Mesopotamia. According to Biblical tradition, they are the direct descendants of Shem, the Son of Noah. The Assyrians, whose language evolved from Akkadian to Aramaic, built the first cities and invented agriculture; river-fed irrigation systems and establishment of the first library were among many other Assyrian inventions that have shaped our world history.
Ancient Assyria, with Nineveh (today’s Mosul) as its capital city, was once a feared kingdom from western Persia into eastern Egypt. Since the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. to this day, however, Assyrians have faced repeated ethno-religious cleansing in the Middle East.
Having come to Christ through the disciples Thomas, Thaddeus and Bartholomew in the first century A.D., Assyrians realized a new enemy was on the horizon as Islam spread throughout the region after 622 A.D. The first Islamic attack was perpetrated against them in 650 A.D., when many monks were killed along the Byzantine border. The Assyrians have since suffered attacks on a regular basis, generation after generation. After Ottoman Turkey’s systematic killing of 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians and over 500,000 Greeks in the early 20th century, many Assyrians ended up in refugee camps.
Since the ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iraqi-Assyrian Christians have endured vicious criminal acts by Islamist extremists. Systematic ethno-religious cleansing in Iraq began in 2003, when Christian families received threatening letters offering three options: convert to Islam, pay the jizya (a form of protection tax paid by non-Muslims) or leave their homes, empty-handed.
As families started to receive the letters, terrorists began systematically abducting and killing Christian clergy. To date, there have been hundreds of Christians who have been kidnapped and murdered because of their Assyrian ethnicity and their Christian faith. These acts have driven approximately 1 million people out of their homeland, where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years.” Read more.
Flashback: Muslim Cleric In Iraq Issues New Fatwa To All Iraqi Christians: Choose Islam Or Be Killed – “An Advent of light and shadow for Iraq’s Christians, who are celebrating the reopening of the cathedral of Baghdad but at the same time subjected to new – and heavy – threats from a radical Shiite Muslim leader. From studies of a television broadcaster based in Egypt, an Iraqi Ayatollah launches a fatwa against the religious minority on the eve of Christmas: ‘Conversion to Islam or death.’… Labeling them as ‘polytheists’ and ‘friends of the Zionists’, the extremist leader stressed that they must choose ‘or Islam or death,’ while ‘their women and girls may legitimately be regarded wives of Muslims.’” Read more.
Flashback: Iraq: Islamic Extremists Want to Eliminate Christians From Country – “Ongoing violence against Christians in Iraq has produced an accelerated exodus of believers recently and numbering in the hundreds of thousands over the last 10 years, said Open Doors USA officials… ‘At the beginning of the summer, Open Doors estimated the number of Christians remaining in Iraq at 345,000. However, the number decreases every month,’ officials stated. ‘It is an estimation; some even think there are less Christians left in the country than that,’ another Open Doors member said.” Read more.