Christians Flee Violence In Iraq

More and more Iraqi Christians are fleeing to the north of the country or abroad amid a new wave of violence and the fear that Iraq’s security forces are unwilling or unable to protect them.  Several violent attacks have singled out Iraqi Christians, including the siege of a church on October 31 that killed both worshipers and priests.  Some are worried that this mass exodus could cause the demise of Christianity in Iraq, citing the departure of Iraq’s Jews after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

“It’s exactly what happened to the Jews,” said one Christian who moved to the Kurdish capital with his family from Baghdad. “They want us all to go.”

Some leaders have said that it’s faith in the government, not religion, that has weakened.  Some families have reported calling for help from the Iraqi army and simply being told that they’re no longer safe.  And although both Sunni and Shiite Muslims are dying in targeted attacks across the country, the small numbers of Christians have made this issue seem much more pressing.  Many Iraqi Christians have already left, and there are groups, like the Islamic State of Iraq, that have explicitly declared that their fighters will kill Christians “wherever we can find them.”

The Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq has offered a sanctuary for Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution.  But moving is obviously a terrible ordeal, and it’s especially challenging for Christians who aren’t wealthy.

A UN commission declared that the nominal protections in Iraqi law directed at religious minorities can’t necessarily keep violence from being inflicted.  Some are calling for an autonomous Christian enclave, which I’m not sure would help greatly.  I wonder, also, whether Christians are free from the threat of violence in northern Iraq, or whether it would simply follow them.

There’s no question, though, that the Iraqi government needs to do more to help this persecuted minority – although it also needs to be placed in the context of the massive violence that continues in Iraq.  The New York Times doesn’t suggest a connection between opposition to the West and opposition to Christians, but I wonder if that’s a possibility also, and what other complex issues are being elided by this fairly light analysis.  How, for example, are other “minorities” targeted?  And what is the perspective of the Christians who aren’t leaving?  Is it just based on socioeconomic status?  And how do Christians fit into their communities, since the violence seems primarily to be external?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


Huguette M.
Huguette Morin7 years ago

What would happen if here in Canada, we would do the same to Muslims?

Dana R.
Dana Robinson7 years ago

Very interesting,thank you Sandra. T

Ola C.
Ola C7 years ago

I knew of several Iraqi Christians when I lived in San Diego. Most of them moved there when Saddam Hussein was in power. The stories I have heard of torture and persecution from his government were horrific to say the least . I am saddened and worried about the Christians that are left behind there and call upon the US government and the governments of the world to give these people sanctuary. I am aware of the immigration problems in this country and Canada; but we need to do this, at least in the name of humanity.

Lydia S.
Lydia S7 years ago

Ashley D wrote: "Religious intolerance strikes again (and again...) as evidenced first by the article"

-- Yes, muslims DO deny ALL non-muslims the right to practice their religion, but insist on having "the right" to practice "islam", at the expense of ALL others! This is unacceptable!

"and then by all the intolerant comments that follow."

-- I reject the notion that I, or any other intelligent person on these forums, has an obligation to be "tolerant" of the violence & CRUELTY inherent in this "religion"! As I have stated before , islam is NOT a religion, it is a POLITICAL IDEOLOGY and a CULT!

"Tolerance" ends, when someone uses their "religion" to FORCE their BELIEFS on others!

"Tolerance" has no place in the "debate" when there is a knife at one's throat, a bomb on one's airplane, threats of killing for "cartoons", "movies", "criticisms" of any aspect of islam, etc.

"Tolerance" ends when HALF the population is reduced to sub-human status; deprived of all civil liberties; subject to death penalties for ridiculous reasons, imprisoned on the whim of "religious police"!

"Tolerance" ends when little girls have their genitals mutilated -- resulting in a lifetime of pain; increased incidence of death during childbirth; urinary tract & other infections, etc.

BECAUSE -- Under those circumstances, it's not "TOLERANCE" -- it's COMPLICITY IN CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY!


Walter F.
Walter F.7 years ago

You are right Sandra S.In middle ages he was branded "The madman"(in hebrew ha-meshuga) by Maimonides. Perhaps our daily prayer should be"I thank you Lord God that I was not born a Moslem".

Ashley D.
Ashley L7 years ago

Religious intolerance strikes again (and again and again and again) as evidenced first by the article and then by all the intolerant comments that follow. :,(

Sandra T.
Sandra T7 years ago

@Mobolsa and Mara, Lydia, and Mara quite frankly you disgust me by saying “Muslims like Sandra don't behead Non-muslims but they hold the camera. They don't kill and harass... but they support the communities and the laws doing it”
How dare you make such a claim!!!! Shame on you!! You had absolutely no right to make this outrageous comment.

As to the rest of your comments, it’s clear you can never write enough about your hatred and I can never write enough about my love for this religion, for I have understood its message and you haven’t. What it stands for is one thing, what certain groups and leaders or even indivduals used and are using it for is another.
Oppression and violence have no justification in any religion, and are therefore no part of it. Period.

The political and cultural aspects are where the real problems are. People followed their desires of worldly gains and power, or just sheer control over others,and abandoned their faith and what it represents, yet labeling their actions by their faith. I am not in denial of these problems, but there is so much more to this religion than you will ever know, and that’s what is sad.

Sandra T.
Sandra T7 years ago

I am no fool, as much as you would like to have that conveyed in your post. If I am one to you, that’t okay too. I won’t have to answer to you for anything I do in my life. My religion commands me to do good and to endorse good. And it is not money that gives me comfort. It is the sense of fulfillment.We live and die with our choices and we will brought fourth to justice for all our actions. Common sense dictates that For those who thought they got away with their crimes and injustices in this life, retribution will wait for them in the next.

When I was referring to “not your world”, that was directed to Mabolsa, for he (like yourself) wants to alienate all Muslims to some part of the world of his choice, and I was reminding him, that it is “Our world”, by “our” not meaning the Muslims’ world, but as in the world for all of us, and noone has the authority telling me or any other muslim. where they can live. I wanted to clarify this. This world has been created for the entire human race. Don’t intentionally twist this again.

This continuous back and forth fruitless personal posting is a perfect example of evil in its purest form and a catalyst for even more hatred and misconception. And the double standard and hypocrisy here is unbearable. I will not be made a tool for this purpose and refuse to participate in “your hate game”. You can consider yourselves the winners in this game

Sandra T.
Sandra T7 years ago

Criticism is a good thing when done in a healthy way, only then is it worth to continue debates and discussions, in the hope that there can be established some common ground on which we can begin to look for solutions to bring about the changes that also us Muslims are striving for.

All people want the same basic things in their lives.. Nobody wants wars and crimes, except the despaired or deranged living amongst us. The more you show your hatred of Islam, the more motivated you will see the the abusers of this faith, but somehow you can’t you see that danger!

You are not helping anyone by it, that’s for sure.Muslims, no doubt, have to do their part and work hard to bring about changes and reform within their own communities. God guides and helps those who seek it from him.

Mara S.
Mara S7 years ago


When I read Sandra's posts I don't see her using taqyya and don't consider her ofthe atrocities inherent to islam or its "prophet"

Sandra seems sincere in her view of islam. Many like her abound around where I live. She really thinks that islam is a "good" thing. But she constantly reffers to the religious part. She stays away from all the ideological parts of this Total Way-of-Life.
She doesn't understand the totality of it... And that's sad.

Muslims like Sandra are victims. They don't behead Non-muslims but they hold the camera. They don't kill and harass... but they support the communities and the laws doing it.

All muslim majority countries have laws imposing islam on others more of less depending on the location...and Sandra brushes away such realities. She stops thinking when the questions get too intense and impssible to answer.
Moreover Sandra wants people to believe that only a "tiny percentage", "a few", "a handful" of "bad" muslims commit attrocities of all sorts!
Somehow this handful of bad muslims make minorities dissapear, force minorities into slavery and even create Laws that discriminate against them... All against the teachings of Mohammed.

She could very well be comfortable where she is. That only means money and Vasta. Many such muslims create their own islam and flat out ignore the wide spread reality of what islam is all the while pleading with rest of us to "respect" today's islam shouldn't be like it is!