Christian persecution intensifies in Iraq

Islamic militants in Iraq have turned their attention to their Christian neighbors, declaring that Christians are legitimate targets and bombing Christian neighborhoods.  This follows a recent assault on a church during the worship service that killed more than 40.  From the BBC:

A series of bomb and mortar attacks targeting Christian areas has killed at least five people in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Six districts with strong Christian majorities were hit – more than 30 people have been injured.

The attacks come days after Islamist militants seized a Catholic cathedral and more than 40 were killed. . . .

“Two mortar shells and 10 home-made bombs targeted the homes of Christians in different neighbourhoods of Baghdad between 0600 and 0800 (0300 and 0500 GMT),” an unnamed official told AFP news agency.

An interior ministry source, quoted anonymously by Reuters, said the attacks were directly linked to the siege of the cathedral.

“These operations, which targeted Christians, came as a continuation of the attack that targeted the Salvation church,” the source said.

The BBC’s Jim Muir, in Baghdad, says it is unclear whether Christians were killed. However the intention is clear – to underline a threat from the so-called Islamic State for Iraq, an umbrella group linked to al-Qaeda, that all Christians in the country are now a legitimate target.

via BBC News – Christian areas targeted in deadly Baghdad attacks.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Has the President commented on the situation of Christians in Muslim countries? They are only barely tolerated. Is tolerance only our duty or is it fair that those whom we tolerate would also tolerate us?

    It reminds me of one man’s speech in NYC this last Sept. 11.

    He said he opposed the new mosque/islamic center in the neighborhood of the fallen World Trade Center because its promoters have never suggested a center for religious tolerance where it is truly needed, in Mecca.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Has the President commented on the situation of Christians in Muslim countries? They are only barely tolerated. Is tolerance only our duty or is it fair that those whom we tolerate would also tolerate us?

    It reminds me of one man’s speech in NYC this last Sept. 11.

    He said he opposed the new mosque/islamic center in the neighborhood of the fallen World Trade Center because its promoters have never suggested a center for religious tolerance where it is truly needed, in Mecca.

  • Joe

    I spoke with a friend of mine who is in Iraq right now, he is an officer and directly involved with the effort to train the Iraqis to fend from themselves. He reports that the problem is a lack of civilian political will to do anything about these attacks. Unless a real civilian leader who will be willing to do the right thing (even if it is not the popular thing) is found Iraq will become the next Lebanon, a failed state with a fake gov’t run by a terrorist militia. The other option is that we aren’t bringing our troops home anytime soon.

    On a personal note pray for his family as his second child will be borne before he comes home.

  • Joe

    I spoke with a friend of mine who is in Iraq right now, he is an officer and directly involved with the effort to train the Iraqis to fend from themselves. He reports that the problem is a lack of civilian political will to do anything about these attacks. Unless a real civilian leader who will be willing to do the right thing (even if it is not the popular thing) is found Iraq will become the next Lebanon, a failed state with a fake gov’t run by a terrorist militia. The other option is that we aren’t bringing our troops home anytime soon.

    On a personal note pray for his family as his second child will be borne before he comes home.

  • S Bauer

    I wonder how much Bush wrote about the fate of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East in his book (as well as his responsibility for their fate)?

  • S Bauer

    I wonder how much Bush wrote about the fate of Christians in Iraq and the Middle East in his book (as well as his responsibility for their fate)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@1), what is up with your arguments today? The implication of what you’re saying here (and on other threads) is that we don’t have to live up to our own standards until other countries live up to our standards, as well. That’s ridiculous.

    “Is tolerance only our duty or is it fair that those whom we tolerate would also tolerate us?” Those whom we tolerate? What are you talking about? The topic is Christians being killed by Muslims in Iraq, not Muslims in America. And while, yes, it would be nice if they were not killing Christians in Iraq, that does not mean that we can abandon our own proclaimed principles. Do you have morals or are they merely relative, easily abandoned if you don’t get your way?

    We opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq when we removed its tyrannical but stable leader. Without that stability in place, we are now seeing the Iraqis act out based on their own principles — which do not involve religious tolerance. This was not a difficult thing to predict, but there it is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@1), what is up with your arguments today? The implication of what you’re saying here (and on other threads) is that we don’t have to live up to our own standards until other countries live up to our standards, as well. That’s ridiculous.

    “Is tolerance only our duty or is it fair that those whom we tolerate would also tolerate us?” Those whom we tolerate? What are you talking about? The topic is Christians being killed by Muslims in Iraq, not Muslims in America. And while, yes, it would be nice if they were not killing Christians in Iraq, that does not mean that we can abandon our own proclaimed principles. Do you have morals or are they merely relative, easily abandoned if you don’t get your way?

    We opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq when we removed its tyrannical but stable leader. Without that stability in place, we are now seeing the Iraqis act out based on their own principles — which do not involve religious tolerance. This was not a difficult thing to predict, but there it is.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, that should have read (@4), “tyrannical but stabilizing”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, that should have read (@4), “tyrannical but stabilizing”.

  • Porcell

    Todd, We opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq when we removed its tyrannical but stable leader.

    Actually, we defeated an exceedingly cruel and tyrannical leader and helped to inaugurate an Arab form of democracy in Iraq. As to stability, he imposed it with brutal power including gassing and routinely slaughtering his political opponents.

    Christians in Iraq, as throughout the Middle East, are the targets of radical Islamic extremists. Blaming the Bush administration for this extremism mistakes the real cause of the violence. Stalin and Hitler, also, provided a cruel form of stability to their nations.

    Todd, arguing for the “stability” of Saddam Hussein, reveals a rather demented form of the Bush derangement syndrome.

  • Porcell

    Todd, We opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq when we removed its tyrannical but stable leader.

    Actually, we defeated an exceedingly cruel and tyrannical leader and helped to inaugurate an Arab form of democracy in Iraq. As to stability, he imposed it with brutal power including gassing and routinely slaughtering his political opponents.

    Christians in Iraq, as throughout the Middle East, are the targets of radical Islamic extremists. Blaming the Bush administration for this extremism mistakes the real cause of the violence. Stalin and Hitler, also, provided a cruel form of stability to their nations.

    Todd, arguing for the “stability” of Saddam Hussein, reveals a rather demented form of the Bush derangement syndrome.

  • helen

    Obama commented on tolerance between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia. Apparently the stories on Crossways of Christians having their churches torn down, in Indonesia, have escaped our President .

    [He also said he had "come home" ... to Indonesia.]

  • helen

    Obama commented on tolerance between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia. Apparently the stories on Crossways of Christians having their churches torn down, in Indonesia, have escaped our President .

    [He also said he had "come home" ... to Indonesia.]

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@6), your comment is a frustrating combination of irrelevant facts that no one is disputing and a straw-man argument. Here, I’ll show you:

    “Actually, we defeated an exceedingly cruel and tyrannical leader and helped to inaugurate an Arab form of democracy in Iraq.” No one is disputing this. Cf. my word “tyrannical”.

    “As to stability, he imposed it with brutal power including gassing and routinely slaughtering his political opponents.” No one is disputing this. Cf. my word “tyrannical”.

    “Christians in Iraq, as throughout the Middle East, are the targets of radical Islamic extremists.” No one is disputing this. That is what this blog post is about.

    “Blaming the Bush administration for this extremism mistakes the real cause of the violence.” Aaaand, there’s the straw-man argument. I did not “blame the Bush administration for this extremism”. The violence is the fault of those engaging in it, the Muslims. But you cannot naively claim that these Muslim extremists always had a free hand to act in this manner against Christians. There has been a significant power shift in Iraq, and we brought that about. Do you deny it? It was not hard to predict that Christians would suffer when the extremist elements were no longer contained by Saddam’s tyranny.

    You can argue that Iraq is better off, over all, with this new political arrangement. You cannot, however, argue that it is better for the remaining Christians in Iraq.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@6), your comment is a frustrating combination of irrelevant facts that no one is disputing and a straw-man argument. Here, I’ll show you:

    “Actually, we defeated an exceedingly cruel and tyrannical leader and helped to inaugurate an Arab form of democracy in Iraq.” No one is disputing this. Cf. my word “tyrannical”.

    “As to stability, he imposed it with brutal power including gassing and routinely slaughtering his political opponents.” No one is disputing this. Cf. my word “tyrannical”.

    “Christians in Iraq, as throughout the Middle East, are the targets of radical Islamic extremists.” No one is disputing this. That is what this blog post is about.

    “Blaming the Bush administration for this extremism mistakes the real cause of the violence.” Aaaand, there’s the straw-man argument. I did not “blame the Bush administration for this extremism”. The violence is the fault of those engaging in it, the Muslims. But you cannot naively claim that these Muslim extremists always had a free hand to act in this manner against Christians. There has been a significant power shift in Iraq, and we brought that about. Do you deny it? It was not hard to predict that Christians would suffer when the extremist elements were no longer contained by Saddam’s tyranny.

    You can argue that Iraq is better off, over all, with this new political arrangement. You cannot, however, argue that it is better for the remaining Christians in Iraq.

  • Porcell

    Todd, who are you trying to kid? When you remark that <i<We opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq when we removed its tyrannical but stable leader., you are claiming that it would be better to have allowed Saddam to continue his cruel tyranny and implicitly criticizing Bush for upsetting this “stability,”

    As to the remaining Christians in Iraq, they are suffering the same fate as Christians all over theMiddle East at the hands of the savage Islamic extremists.

  • Porcell

    Todd, who are you trying to kid? When you remark that <i<We opened a Pandora’s box in Iraq when we removed its tyrannical but stable leader., you are claiming that it would be better to have allowed Saddam to continue his cruel tyranny and implicitly criticizing Bush for upsetting this “stability,”

    As to the remaining Christians in Iraq, they are suffering the same fate as Christians all over theMiddle East at the hands of the savage Islamic extremists.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, Porcell (@9), there you have it. You won’t believe what I say, preferring to believe what you claim I say over my own words. I think that says a lot about how your ability to comprehend what others write. If you won’t believe me even when it comes to what I believe, then I believe you can have this conversation with me entirely in your own brain. Please keep it there.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, Porcell (@9), there you have it. You won’t believe what I say, preferring to believe what you claim I say over my own words. I think that says a lot about how your ability to comprehend what others write. If you won’t believe me even when it comes to what I believe, then I believe you can have this conversation with me entirely in your own brain. Please keep it there.

  • Matt Jamison

    Christians were persecuted, often violently, in Saddam’s Iraq. One difference between then and now is that Iraq’s government now allows media to report on such things.

    The current plight of Christians in Iraq is intolerable, but this did not start with the American invasion. The treatment of religious minorities in Islamic countries is almost universally atrocious.

  • Matt Jamison

    Christians were persecuted, often violently, in Saddam’s Iraq. One difference between then and now is that Iraq’s government now allows media to report on such things.

    The current plight of Christians in Iraq is intolerable, but this did not start with the American invasion. The treatment of religious minorities in Islamic countries is almost universally atrocious.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Matt (@11), I’m afraid I’ll have to ask for some evidence for your claim. Other people dispute your apparent assertions.

    “Although Iraq has a democratic government, Iraqi Christians were safer and had more protection under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, said the future head of the Vatican’s interreligious dialogue council.”[1]

    “The Reverend Canon Andrew White, affectionately known as The Vicar of Baghdad, says the situation for Christians in Iraq is ‘clearly worse’ than under the Saddam Hussein regime, toppled by US and Coalition forces in 2003.”[2]

    “Life was ‘better’ for Christians in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein than it is today, according to the only Anglican vicar working in Baghdad.”[3]

    [1]catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0704487.htm
    [2]crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/11578523/
    [3]timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3084957.ece

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Matt (@11), I’m afraid I’ll have to ask for some evidence for your claim. Other people dispute your apparent assertions.

    “Although Iraq has a democratic government, Iraqi Christians were safer and had more protection under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, said the future head of the Vatican’s interreligious dialogue council.”[1]

    “The Reverend Canon Andrew White, affectionately known as The Vicar of Baghdad, says the situation for Christians in Iraq is ‘clearly worse’ than under the Saddam Hussein regime, toppled by US and Coalition forces in 2003.”[2]

    “Life was ‘better’ for Christians in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein than it is today, according to the only Anglican vicar working in Baghdad.”[3]

    [1]catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0704487.htm
    [2]crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/11578523/
    [3]timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3084957.ece

  • alfC

    once again, ‘religion poisons everything’.

  • alfC

    once again, ‘religion poisons everything’.

  • Jose Molina

    “Christians were persecuted, often violently, in Saddam’s Iraq”

    Let me remember you that one of Hussein’s government highest officers was Tariq Aziz, a chaldean catholic.

  • Jose Molina

    “Christians were persecuted, often violently, in Saddam’s Iraq”

    Let me remember you that one of Hussein’s government highest officers was Tariq Aziz, a chaldean catholic.

  • anna 343

    Tareq Aziz was not the Vice Minister because he was a Christian, but because he was a long and great childhood friend of Saddam Hussein, with whom he carried out some of his first massacres in their first years working together.

  • anna 343

    Tareq Aziz was not the Vice Minister because he was a Christian, but because he was a long and great childhood friend of Saddam Hussein, with whom he carried out some of his first massacres in their first years working together.


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